Here is a tale for HR to consider when implementing staff benefits. 

On 4th October of last year, in the Central Criminal Court before His Honour Judge Gordon, the appellant was convicted  of two offences of fraud contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act. He was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment concurrent on the following day, with time spent on remand to count towards sentence in the usual way. An order was also made for deprivation of a passport in the name of Olayoe.

The nature of the fraud is that British Telecom and Europcar had entered into a preferential car hire agreement, enabling British Telecom employees to hire vehicles at preferential rates using various codes, the detail of which is not necessary to describe. It was alleged against the appellant (Mr Paul) hired vehicles, both on counts using false names and particulars. He had previously worked for British Telecom, but it was the prosecution case that he had been dismissed in July 2007 and that the dismissal terminated any relationship between him and British Telecom.

Count 1 related to the hire of a Volkswagen Passat motorcar on 17th June 2011, as we say using a false name and false codes. Some of the material, for example the operator user code, was a genuine code, but the name was fictitious. The vehicle, which was new, was delivered to an address in Pentonville Road, and when recovered three months later had 20,000 miles on the clock and some damage.

Count 2 related to a vehicle hired on 22nd September for delivery the following day. The phone call proposing this hire was recorded. For reasons which we need not consider, the person taking the booking regarded it as suspicious. The police were called in. The name of the hirer was given as Tony Larry. The employee identification number was false, but the departmental code was indeed for a department in the British Telecom chain of management.

Mr Paul gave evidence at the trial including that he had a relationship with a Mr Anand Patel, an employee of British Telecom who had either authorised or effected the transaction. (the prosecution adduced evidence to show that no such person was currently in British Telecom employment). He claimed that Patel was hiring numerous cars for other drivers in addition to himself. He had not been dishonest in any way, but he had also done work for a Mr Matthews, who was with British Telecom, and he had been paid by bank transfer.

The appellant sought leave to appeal against sentence but that was declined “We have already mentioned the sentence which he was given to him, one of 21 months’ imprisonment after a contest. That is a sentence which clearly falls well within the wide parameters of the judge’s discretion falling within the guidelines. It cannot be said in any sense to be manifestly excessive and leave to appeal against sentence is refused.”

One for the security boffins to consider.

Citation: [2013] EWCA Crim 978

Thank you to Crimline.ino for bringing this to my attention (albeit about the protocol for making a closing statement) : http://www.crimeline.info/case/r-v-paul-2013-ewca-crim-978