Payroll worker jailed for £2.9m fraud at London company

Dennis Harold Image copyright City of London Police
Image caption Harold pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position

An administrator who admitted stealing £2.9m from a London recruitment firm has been jailed for four years.

Dennis Harold, 60, from Dagenham, swindled Devonshire Appointments by inventing staff and paid wages into bank accounts in false company names.

Harold, who worked there for 14 years, spent £1.2m on gambling, an "expensive divorce" and sending money to a bride or fiancee in Thailand, jurors heard.

The fraud by the father-of-three was discovered last year after an audit.

Harold, who pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to fraud by abuse of position, carried out the deception between 2007 and 2013.

'Pure greed'

The scam was discovered by a colleague Shamsur Rahman in 2008, the Old Bailey heard, but 38-year-old Rahman demanded a cut of the scam amounting to £1.1m, instead of reporting it to bosses.

He continued to ask for money from Harold after being made redundant, prosecutor James Norman said.

Rahman, of Enfield, north London, pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property and has promised to pay back the money.

The jury heard Harold was motivated by "pure greed". He put £300,000 towards a £600,000 house and bought a £54,000 car and jewellery for his wife.

Police also found £120,000 in cash stuffed in a rucksack, a bag and a jacket pocket during a search of his home. He confessed to his bosses after initially trying to hide the fraud.

Sentencing Harold and Rahman, Recorder Michael Wood, QC said: "This was an appalling breach of trust by both of you."

To Harold the judge said: "You created false temporary staff to disguise payments to accounts controlled by you.

"In excess of 20 accounts were created and nearly £3m was taken from the fraud. It went on for six years and I have no doubt it would have continued but for an audit carried out and the fraud discovered."

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