Man who defrauded firm with fake invoices is jailed
A FIRM was defrauded out of tens of thousands of pounds after a manager ordered IT equipment using bogus invoices.
Northern Lincolnshire’s Nisa Today’s (Holdings) Ltd innocently paid out £123,000 through fake and inflated invoices created by IT procurement manager Trevor Guerin, a court was told.
It was claimed in Grimsby Crown Court that Geurin received “sweeteners” of a Dell laptop, net books, wine and chocolates on top of £34,000 cash through one contact and £16,000 from another.
The 37-year-old, of Wallis Road, Louth, was jailed for two years after admitting three offences of fraud by inflating invoices and breach of trust in the workplace over a period of five years.
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Two other men, Barry Hesk, 43 of Upton Fields, Leamington Spa, a director of Nettitude, and Aatish Dudani, 26, of Hillfield Avenue, London, who worked for Bytes Software, admitted offences of conspiracy by dishonestly inflating invoices and abusing their positions of trust.
Hesk was given 26 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Dudani received a 12-month community order and must do 150 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing Guerin, Judge Simon Jack said he had been place in a position of trust. He said: “People who deal with IT procurement are relied upon because most people do not know what software is required. They need you to tell them what they need and what it costs.
“If you are dishonest you will get away with it. That was the temptation. You realised you could make a substantial amount of money buying software that did not exist or was inflated (in price).”
The judge said Guerin was the “driving force” in the conspiracy.
Prosecuting, Gordon Stables said proceeds of crime proceedings will be taken against the three men and a hearing is listed for July 13.
He said Guerin had separate conspiracies with Hesk and Dudani, who did not know of the other’s arrangement.
Mr Stables said deals were arranged to inflate the cost of equipment, some of which was not supplied. The suppliers then paid sums of money into two companies set up by Guerin called Trevor Guerin Consultancy and Catalyst Network Services Ltd.
He said a total of £34,180 had been paid to him through the deals with Hesk. Hesk’s company received a similar amount but had paid it back to Nisa.
Mr Stables said one deal was for a Crystal Ball Licence which was invoiced for £18,700 but would normally have cost £700.
Guerin also received the “sweeteners” on top of the £34,000 from Hesk and £16,000 from Dudani, said Mr Stables. Dudani’s company also received £39,000, £8,789 of which was paid to Dudani in commission.
For Hesk, Sasha Wass QC said the business deals between Nettitude and Nisa Today Holdings were worth £1.6 million, had been established for several years before the conspiracy, and business continued between the two firms to date.
She said her client was a hard-working man and well respected by his firm. She added: “He feels enormous remorse.”
For Dudani, Pavlos Panayi said his client was shocked by what he had done. He added the high-energy bonus culture and the corrupting influence of Guerin had led the “model employee” into the conspiracy. He said his client’s company had repaid Nisa.
Guerin was represented in court by Karen Tunnacliffe and no longer works for Nisa. She said: “He accepts entirely what he did. He was in a difficult position at the time. he should have extracated himself from the deals.”
Wayne Swallow, IT director for Nisa-Today’s, said: “This marks the end of a 12-month period involving an investigation and subsequent conviction for an ex-employee of Nisa.
“The Nisa IT team assisted the police in the investigation which also saw two suppliers given suspended prison sentences and community service.
“Nisa condemns these criminal acts and fully supports and welcomes the sentences handed down by the judge.
“Nisa takes a strong stance against any such practices and will always seek punishment to the full extent of the law.”