Shropshire Star

Telford fraudster ordered to pay more than £200k back to former employer

A man who defrauded his employer of more than half a million pounds has been ordered to pay back £220k.

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The ruling was made at Shrewsbury Crown Court

Jonathan Lucas, 54, of Waterlow Close, Telford, was the financial controller for SP Services, a firm that supplies medical and safety equipment for the armed services, public services, NHS, and others.

Lucas held the position for around 10 years and was fully trusted to oversee all the financial accounting for the Telford-based company.

He was also listed as the company secretary.

In October 2017 he was suspended from his post following an unconnected allegation.

While on suspension Lucas was asked to carry out a payroll run under close supervision. It was during the process that discrepancies were noted and the thefts were uncovered.

The subsequent investigation found that he had systematically stolen £443,887.

Lucas fully admitted stealing from his employer and on March 25, 2019, at Shrewsbury Crown Court he pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of authority.

He was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment.

On November 18 at Shrewsbury Crown Court, a confiscation order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act whereby Lucas’s benefit figure from the crime was agreed to be £553,120.50.

The amount Lucas was found to have available was £220,077.47 and a Compensation Order was made to the former owner of SP Services for that amount.

Lucas was given three months to pay the £220,077.47 – or face a period of jail time.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright, of the Economic Crime Unit, West Mercia Police, said: “Lucas has been stripped of the trappings of his crime by powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as a result of a financial investigation by West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit.

"A confiscation order imposed, means he must pay the victim back £220,077.47, or face time in prison. Lucas abused his position of trust within the company and this order goes some way to compensate the victim, who has been impacted by the criminal conduct of Lucas.

“Furthermore, should Lucas be found to have further assets in the future, he will be required to pay these back, until the total amount of £553,120.50 has been satisfied.

"This case demonstrates that those who commit serious fraud will be tackled by West Mercia Police; both by bringing them to justice and by removing the proceeds of the crimes, to compensate victims.”

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