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James Thacker secures Confiscation Order in excess of £3.3million in ‘Britain’s largest Educational fraud’

News | Tue 3rd Apr, 2018

Between January 2006 and October 2012 SK, who had worked his way up to the Accounts Manager, defrauded Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust of over £4million. SK was arrested and charged in 2015, he pleaded not guilty and gave evidence at his trial in June 2006 denying that he made any transfers to a joint bank account he held with his late wife and blamed a junior member of staff at the Trust. He was unanimously convicted by the jury and sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment.

Under cross-examination in confiscation proceedings SK accepted he lied on oath at his trial when he maintained his innocence and blamed a junior member of staff. Although he asserted during evidence that no monies from the fraud remained as they had either been spent or gifted, HHJ Heathcote-Williams QC sitting at Woolwich Crown Court stated in a reserved judgment:

I find that the defendant is a very selfish, greedy and dishonest man. Not only while a pastor of his church, did he commit this theft and fraud over a long period, in a very large sum, in breach of trust against his employers, not only did he then plead not guilty and lie on oath, maintaining his innocence and falsely accusing a junior colleague, not only has he failed, despite being given a second opportunity, to set out in a statement what became of the benefit and yet has gone into the witness box in this hearing and given explanations of what, he now says, did become of much of the benefit, but also his evidence on oath in this hearing has been characterised by pauses – while he is clearly calculating, not always accurately, what answers will help him and he may get away with, regardless of their truth – and by grudging, poorly particularised and evasive replies from him.’

The learned judge found that the defendant had benefited from his criminal conduct in the amount of £4,313,263.39, the available amount (including assets that had already been realised by the Trust) amounted to £3,325,634.56, and that the difference had been dissipated. SK was given 3 months to pay the order in full and in default of payment was ordered to serve 8 years’ imprisonment consecutive to his original sentence.

James Thacker was instructed by the Special Fraud Division of CPS, London.

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