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Senior civil servant jailed for stealing £1.7m from Ministry of Justice

Wednesday 8th January, 2020

A manager in the Ministry of Justice’s commercial and financial control sector who stole more than £1.7 million from his employer to support a luxury style, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

The Grade 7 civil servant with a pay band of between £50,000-£60,000 a year masterminded a sophisticated fraud by setting up payments to a fake company over two years.

He used the money to buy two Audi cars and a five-bedroom manor house with 1.1 acres in Hampshire, moving from a three bed semi in Essex that he had before.

In July 2017, he created a £7 million purchase order for an IT services contract from “Sopra Business Consulting” and set up a monthly payment to it. The firm was fake and the money was transferred from the company’s bank to his personal account.

The fraud came to light in July 2019 when a junior civil servant became suspicious of a transaction.

He had transferred almost £1.4 million of MoJ funds to himself and £400,000 was in the fake firm’s account when the police investigated.

A MoJ spokeswoman said Williams “used his knowledge of our controls to circumvent them”, adding: “We have since carried out a further review to ensure it would be even harder to commit such an offence.”

The MoJ said in the newspaper article it has now recovered £900,000 and is pursuing the remaining amount.