Manchester

Rochdale Council worker jailed for £80,000 theft

Matthew Ravey Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Matthew Ravey imagined himself as "some sort of criminal mastermind", Det Con Sarah Langley said

A "devious" council worker who siphoned off £80,000 of public money in what he believed was a "fool-proof plan to get rich" has been jailed.

Matthew Ravey, 28, admitted making fraudulent payments between January 2015 and June 2016 when he was working at Rochdale Council.

Police said the scam came to light by chance when a colleague spotted an application for property relief on a company which had dissolved in 2014.

Ravey was jailed for 18 months.

He had previously admitted four counts of theft at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the fraud unravelled in June 2016 when his colleague noticed Ravey of Weir Road, Rochdale, had applied a period of empty property relief totalling £4,208 to the defunct company which had dissolved in 2014.

GMP said among 26 fraudulent transfers were two payments totalling £3,274 to 48-year-old Jason Hurst.

'Written off... boom'

Hurst admitted to police officers to spending the cash on cocaine and prostitutes, while just under £15,000 was sent to another friend, former NHS worker Michael Frames, 28, who also told police he had a cocaine habit.

Police said Ravey, who was a business rates officer, also created false insolvency documents for himself and friends in an attempt to avoid reimbursing payday loans.

He used his work e-mail account to tell one friend: "I have used it on three loans I had in the past. Two have been written off completely... boom."

GMP said Ravey joined the council in 2013 after three years of "unblemished" service with the Royal Navy up to 2012.

Hurst, of Chorley Old Road, Bolton, and Frames, of Hurstead Road, Milnrow, were sentenced at a previous hearing to 100 hours of unpaid work after both admitted one count of theft.

Det Con Sarah Langley said Ravey had "imagined himself as some sort of criminal mastermind who had concocted a fool-proof plan to get rich while avoiding his debtors".

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