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James Thacker and William Dean Secure First Ever Conviction for Knowingly Furnishing False Information in £2.7m Rural Development Grant Fraud

News | Tue 16th Jun, 2020

On 12 June 2020, two defendants were sentenced for their participation in a scheme to secure over £2.7m in Government grant aid under the Countryside Productivity Scheme. False quotations, in the names of genuine businesses, were supplied to the Rural Payments Agency at DEFRA in an attempt to have taxpayers’ money paid to a preferred company.

Both defendants received custodial sentences, which were suspended in light of mitigation. One defendant was ordered to pay more than £96,000 in costs and compensation and was disqualified as a company director for two years.

The case involved what is understood to be the first conviction under regulation 16 of the Common Agricultural Policy (Control and Enforcement, Cross-Compliance, Scrutiny of Transactions and Appeals) Regulations 2014, which makes it an offence knowingly or recklessly to furnish false or misleading information to a person administering the grant scheme.

A full report of the case is available here.

James Thacker and William Dean prosecuted the case. They were instructed by Gurminder Sanghera at the Serious Fraud Division of the Crown Prosecution Service.

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