Devon

Fraudster jailed after £1000s of bogus overtime claims

Exeter Crown Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Andrew Spencer pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and one of perverting the course of justice

An ambulance worker who faked a reference for his job has been jailed after defrauding his employer of £1000s in bogus overtime claims.

Andrew Spencer had just been sacked from an airline for theft when he got a job at an ambulance service using a forged reference.

Spencer, 37, admitted three counts of fraud and one of perverting the course of justice at Exeter Crown Court.

He was jailed for two years and six months.

Spencer also admitted to being in breach of a suspended sentence imposed in November 2015 for defrauding his old employer, Flybe.

Phony 'excellent' reference

His reference for a job with the Westcountry Ambulance Service Trust in Exeter appeared to come from a manager at the airline praising his honesty as "excellent" but had in fact been written by Spencer himself.

Within weeks he was defrauding his new employer by using a fuel card to buy £394 of petrol for his own car, the court heard.

The court was also told Spencer had forged the signature of his line manager so he could claim £4,772 in overtime payments he was not entitled to.

He was dismissed by the Exeter ambulance service but managed to get another job with an ambulance service in Essex.

While in Essex, Spencer was called to answer fraud charges in Exeter. He tried to get an adjournment by forging a hospital letter claiming his seven-month old son was seriously ill.

But staff at Exeter Magistrates' Court checked the letter with the hospital after they noticed Spencer had misspelled the word pneumothorax.

Delivering his verdict at Exeter Crown Court, Judge Graham Cottle said: "You engage in extravagant deception. You lie readily and lie persuasively. You plan the deceits you are going to carry out. They are not impulsive."

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