Businessman ordered to pay £25k after security fraud
A businessman took more than £600 a week from Dudley Council to provide security at one of the borough’s oldest buildings – but was caught out on “numerous occasions” with no staff actually on site.
Simon Jones has been ordered to pay back nearly £11,000 to the local authority after admitting fraud. He must also pay the full court costs of £15,688.35, a judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court ruled yesterday (Tue).
The 46-year-old’s company, S & K Security, won a tender in 2010 to provide security services at Wollescote Hall.
The court heard Jones’ company should have provided a security guard on site between 5pm and midnight seven days a week, as well as opening up the historic hall at 7am from Monday to Friday.
Invoices for £638 per week were submitted to the council for security services.
But the court heard investigations were launched between March 2016 and July 2017 into when alarms were activated and de-activated at the hall.
The council’s corporate fraud manager found there were “numerous occasions” when no security guard was present at Wollescote Hall when they should have been.
The security boss pocketed £10,496 he was not entitled to over the 14-month period, the court was told.
Jones, of Downfield Drive, Sedgley, had been due to stand trial having initially denied the charge. But he changed his plea to guilty just before a jury was sworn in to try the case.
For fraud he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, with the jail term suspended for two years.
Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance and legal services, said:
This was not a case of a company employee leaving early every now and then, or turning up late.
Over a 475 day period, 362 shifts were only partly covered, and 45 shifts were not covered at all.
That is 45 days when taxpayers’ money was used to pay for services to protect one of the borough’s most historic buildings, when no-one even bothered to set foot in the hall to check on it.
That is dishonest behaviour, and we welcome the sentence of the court in this case as well as the fact we were awarded the full costs and compensation we asked for.
Jones was given 12 months by the court to repay the £10,946.18 compensation in full to Dudley Council. He has three years to pay the court costs in full.