A FORMER manager at Bradford Council has been sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, for fleecing the authority out of more than £11,000.
Simon Jackson, 37, was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court today after pleading guilty to six charges of fraud.
The court heard that his life unravelled after the breakdown of his marriage leading to “a spectacular fall from grace.”
Prosecutor Ken Green said Jackson, of Shaw Lane, Headingley, Leeds, was a contracts and procurement manager for the Council dealing with the sale of scrap metal belonging to the authority to Bradford Waste Traders Limited.
In April last year, concerns were raised about his conduct and behaviour. He was suspended and a financial investigation began.
Jackson’s bank accounts were examined and his computer analysed.
Mr Green said he had persuaded Bradford Waste Traders Limited to pay him directly for the scrap metal. There were between eight and ten transactions totalling £11,134 in the early part of last year.
Jackson also submitted a false expenses claim form to the Council for £423, and a false bank statement to a firm of solicitors purporting to show he had in excess of £500,000 in his account in relation to the purchase of a £450,000 house in Barnsley.
Giles Bridge said in mitigation that Jackson was of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
A building was being demolished and his role was to negotiate the recovery and payment of the scrap metal from the site.
His marriage had ended and he was homeless but trying to maintain contact with his children. He acted wholly out of character and was always going to be caught.
In relation to the false bank statement for the house purchase, Jackson claimed to be acting as a consultant for a wealthy family in Thailand. He stupidly doctored the statement to say he had £500,000 in his account. It was unsophisticated fraud and the house could never have been bought. The loss was around £2,000 on the conveyancing.
Mr Bridge said the court case had had a salutary effect on Jackson. He was assessed by the probation service as being at a low risk of reoffending and motivated to work with them.
He had the support of his family and would be vulnerable in a custodial environment.
Jackson had received an invoice from the Council and knew he needed to pay the money back.
The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, said Jackson had abused the trust placed in him by the Council after being employed there for about 12 months.
He persuaded Bradford Waste Traders Limited to pay him directly into his bank account, submitted a false expenses claim and possessed and submitted a false invoice.
In the final offence, he submitted a false bank account for a house he could never have afforded.
Jackson was of previous good character and it was “a spectacular fall from grace.”
His marriage had broken down and his life was unravelling.
Judge Mansell ordered him to do 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service.
He said Jackson had no money to pay compensation. The Council would have to go through civil proceedings to get its money back.