The head of anti-money laundering at Mayfair’s Ritz Hotel Casino pleaded for his freedom yesterday when jailed for stealing £3,000 from his former employers, the National Crime Agency.
Ex-police officer Alex Henderson, 31, was a counter-terrorism, drugs and money laundering investigator with the NCA before he was caught withdrawing lump sums from their account.
He pleaded guilty to stealing £3,090 from the NCA between October 13 and November 4 2016, plus a Samsung Galaxy S7 mobile phone, worth £408 between September 19 and 30.
Recorder of Westminster Judge Deborah Taylor sentenced Henderson, of Princes Park Lane, Hayes to sixteen months imprisonment for the offences.
Wiping away tears and looking at his wife in disbelief Henderson pleaded: “I can’t leave my children. I love you I’m sorry.”
As a security guard took him to the cells Henderson, who has repaid all the money, begged the judge: “Please reconsider.”
At a conference earlier this year Henderson was talking tough about companies punished for failing to enforce anti-money laundering regulations.
“I don’t have any sympathy for them. They’re very small fines for people doing a lot of wrong,’ he said. “You’re in a position of trust, you need to protect your staff, you need to protect your customers.”
He is open about his former undercover career with the NCA in his professional online profile.
Southwark Crown Court heard a credit card taken from secure storage was used at cashpoints on six occasions - for the maximum £500 each time - plus a £90 fee.
Prosecutor Miss Kerry Broome told the court: “Mr. Henderson was a NCA officer and had access to credit cards used by the agency.
“He worked with one other person and had access to the secure storage area and the PIN numbers.”
On November 15, 2016 his colleague was informed of suspicious activity on the credit card, with the PIN being used to withdraw cash.
“The card was still at the NCA and when Mr. Henderson was confronted he confessed he used the card.
“He accepted he had taken the card and the PIN and persuaded a friend to make cash withdrawals,” added Miss Broome.
The friend was questioned by police, but no charges were brought.
“He said he knew his friend was a police officer and he did it because he trusted him.
“A mobile phone had also been ordered on the NCA account and taken by Mr. Henderson for his own use.
“He immediately accepted that he had taken the money and bought the mobile phone.
“The money has not been paid back, but I understand Mr. Henderson is willing to do so,” explained Miss Broome.
“He said his father asked him for money to pay household bills and his father was spoken to and confirmed he had asked for money, but was vague about the amounts.
“Not all the money went to Henderson snr.
“The defendant no longer works for the NCA.”
Judge Taylor told him: “You did not immediately accept the offences, you denied them. It is only when confronted with the evidence that you did accept it.
“There was some attempt to conceal evidence and a risk of suspicion falling on a co-worker.
“These are serious offences involving theft from an employer who gave you access and placed you in a position of trust.”