Men jailed over Leicestershire County Council fraud scam

Malcolm Farnish, Valerie Farnish, Steven Reynolds and Anna Reynolds.
Image caption The two couples defrauded the council out of more than £100,000

A Leicestershire County Council employee and a businessman have been jailed for defrauding the authority.

Malcolm Farnish, 65, of Nuneaton, worked in the Highways Department and placed orders with a firm set up by Steven Reynolds, 63, from Cossington.

Ground Products Ltd (GPL) overcharged the authority, netting the two men and their wives more than £100,000.

Farnish was jailed for three years and Reynolds for two at Leicester Crown Court.

'Abuse of trust'

The two men and their wives - Valerie Farnish, 65 and Anna Reynolds, 63 - were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position and conspiracy to convert criminal property.

Valerie Farnish was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years and Anna Reynolds was given an 18 month sentence, suspended for two years.

Sentencing Malcolm Farnish, highlighted as the "prime mover" in the fraud plot, Judge Robert Brown said: "You were employed by the county council in a position of trust.

"You abused that position by giving contracts to a company in which you had a direct financial interest."

The fraud was uncovered when one of his colleagues noticed the prices of some of the goods they were ordering were "over the odds".

The county council said it had now "tightened up procedures".

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