Wednesday, 26 July 2017

BBC Manager Who Defrauded £155K Jailed For Three Years

A BBC manager has been jailed for three years for planning a £155,000 fraud because he felt “overworked” and “undervalued”.

Lee Richardson, 52, was a Frameworks Contracts Manager, responsible for awarding work to firms tasked with the upkeep of the broadcaster’s huge property portfolio.

However, the school governor, who also served with Ofsted, founded Sentinal Services and paid himself for non-existent work - signing-off twelve separate invoices.

The married father-of-three, of Alexandra Drive, Surbiton pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position between October 6, 2009 and February 22, 2011.

Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court heard an audit after Richardson had left the BBC exposed the fraud.

“He was responsible for work to be carried out to the BBC estate and it was his job to select these tendered contracts,” said prosecutor Mr. Stephen Apted.

Sentinal was registered on September 9, 2009 and almost immediately Richardson was paying the company for work never carried out.

“That company was set up and registered for the sole purpose of committing these frauds.”

Richardson was Sentinal’s director and his wife Debra the company secretary and he twice refused to answer police questions after his arrest on November 15, 2015.

He has now fully repaid the BBC and after paying tax originally is now £25,000 down on the fraud.

“He has taken full responsibility. He felt aggrieved, overlooked, overworked and undervalued and saw gaps in the system and took advantage,” said his lawyer Anna McKenzie.

“He fully accepts what he did was wrong and bitterly regrets what he has done.”

Richardson has a construction and engineering background. “He has ruined his personal and professional reputation and is deeply ashamed of what he has done.”

Judge Sarah Plaschkes QC told bearded Richardson, whose wife and mother were in court: “You were employed by the BBC, a public body.

“You were promoted and were required to be independent and impartial, but these invoices were bogus.

“No work has been carried out and that company was created at the same time you were promoted.

“This was a sophisticated fraud in setting-up the company and using it to produce and submit invoices, it required planning.

“This was a calculated, sustained and sophisticated fraud, abusing your position to defraud a public institution.”

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