A family affair
A Surrey man and his wife, brother, sister and mother have all been found guilty of fraud after what local police described as “a very complex case, which took substantial time and effort to unravel”.
The ‘lynchpin’, Jason Huggett, worked for an international firm, where he negotiated contracts, arranged for work to be carried out across a construction site and authorised payments for work. However, unbeknown to his employers, he settled invoices for non-existent work to businesses owned by his wife and mother and paid over the odds for work carried out by his brother-in-law’s firm. In addition, he falsified expense claims, equipment sales and receipts and manipulated a legitimate business relationship with a supplier to obtain personal vehicles. In total, he is estimated to have defrauded his employer and other companies of over £450,000 between 2011 and 2013.
Coincidentally, in what seems to be a family affair, the man’s brother, then working for the Metropolitan Police, was found to be committing fraud against his employer too. In fact, the counter-fraud team, which was investigating offences against the Met, found that the brother had been splitting larger contracts to bring them below the threshold he was able to award. According to the counter-fraud team, this chip off the old block defrauded the Met to the tune of £220,000, much of which was paid into accounts controlled by family members.
As in any fraud case, once suspicions were raised, forensic accountants examined every document relating to the alleged fraud, from bank statements to emails and telephone call transcripts. Supporting evidence, such as contracts, invoices and receipts would then have been gathered until the investigators had the true picture of what happened.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 17 July 2017