Fraud in the city? Who’d have thought it, eh? This one though is a bit more ‘old school’. Dennis Harold was a payroll worker for Devonshire Appointments. He created a series of fake identities and caused payments to them through non-existent companies.
In total, he netted £2.9 million which went on “gambling (a whopping £1.2 million), an “expensive divorce” and sending money to a bride or fiancee in Thailand“. Other expenditures were “£300,000 towards a £600,000 house and bought a £54,000 car and jewellery for his wife“. When his house was searched, “Police also found £120,000 in cash stuffed in a rucksack, a bag and a jacket pocket“.
This had been obtained over a six year period from 2007 to 2013.
How did this come to light?
Officially an audit in 2013. In what some people might find amusing however Mr Harold’s fraud was discovered by a colleague Shamsur Rahman in 2008. Mr Rahman decided that the appropriate way of dealing with it was to blackmail Mr Harold and threaten to expose him unless he handed over a cut of the proceeds.
So it was that Mr Rahman came to plead guilty to money laundering.
Looking at the theft ones first (p11) this is right at the top of the highest bracket. Given the sums of money involved, this would suggest a sentence of 6 years for Mr Harold. Allowing for credit for a plea of guilty, this puts the 4 year sentence as bang on what one would expect.
In relation to the fraud guidelines, it’s probably closest to a banking fraud (p24). This gives a range of 4-7 years. Again, this is right at the top of the bracket in terms of seriousness and value.
Putting those two together, I’d suggest that Mr Harold can consider himself slightly fortunate, as we would expect a sentence slightly higher than he got (but not by much, about 4½-5 years). If Mr Rahman did get the same sentence, he may be entitled to feel slightly cheesed off. Mr Harold was clearly the prime mover and originator and we’d have expected him to get a slightly higher sentence to reflect that.
Having said that, it is hard to say that the sentence of 4 years is manifestly excessive, so we would not expect him to get very far in an appeal.
Was this a trial or a guilty plea?
That’s a strange aspect of the reporting. It reports a guilty plea for both of them, but states that “The jury heard Harold was motivated by “pure greed“. It may be that this is sloppy reporting, or that there was in fact a trial (or part of a trial at least) for one or other of them. The sentences would actually make more sense if Mr Rahman was found guilty after a trial – this would explain why he got the same sentence.