Ribchester recruitment firm defrauded by 'fake journey' worker
A former recruitment consultant who made a string of false expenses claims has been given eight months in jail, suspended for a year, with 200 hours of unpaid work.
Mark Hudson, 31, of Henthorn Road, Clitheroe, defrauded Ginger Recruitment Services, based in Ribchester, near Preston, by faking journeys as far as Norwich, purporting to be meeting with other businesses.
He ripped off businessman Tim Byrne and his wife, who run the business, to the tune of £4,245, Preston Crown Court was told.
The dad, who hit the headlines in 2008 when he and some of his relatives were jailed over a bogus damp proofing firm targeting pensioners, is still working as a recruitment consultant on a basic salary of £27,000.
He pleaded guilty to fraud by abusing his position.
The court heard he claimed mileage expenses on 18 occasions for journeys across the country - but the firms involved later revealed he had never met with them.
He was also paid a wage he was not entitled to for these dates, between November 16, 2016 and April 26, 2017.
Representing himself, Hudson said: "I'd like to say I'm sorry for everything I've done.
"I was mentally struggling due to personal circumstances and made some terrible, terrible decisions, which I'm trying to work on now."
Prosecuting David Clarke, said: " The defendant was employed by the company specifically as a recruitment consultant and his specialist area was to do with fire and security companies.
"The company allows them to work flexibly on a trust based position. Part of that allows for an employee to use their own vehicle and make an appropriate claim for the cost of petrol and travel at 45p a mile.
" Any claims accrued are submitted by the company's computer accounting system.
" So it came to be on May 23, 2017 information was provided by an unknown source to the firm's management to the effect there was a concern some of the claims submitted by Mr Hudson were not genuine. The firm instigated their own inquiries with 27 companies.
" It transpired between November 16, 2016 and April 26, 2017 there were 18 separate claims lodge for visits as far as Norwich and back and the value of claims came to £2,376.55. He received a gross amount of pay of £1,800 that he wasn't entitled.
"Based on this investigation a termination letter was served and a complaint was made to the police."
In a victim impact statement, Mr Byrne said he and his wife found the situation "very distressing" as they considered Hudson a friend and welcomed him into their home, and it had affected the way they interact with their employees.
Hudson must pay them back at a rate of £175 a month.