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Pair Jailed for £1m Fake Invoice Fraud at Top Law Firm

Thursday 27th June, 2024

A facilities manager who submitted fake invoices has been jailed for six years along with a company director of a vendor he conspired with.

Holding the role of facilities and services manager at US law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP since the late 1990s, he managed relationships and activities which including invoicing, with vendors of office and facilities supplies and services.

Over a three year period fake invoices totalling over £1 million were then sent to suppliers from his personal email and phone. He was jailed for six years at Southwark Crown Court.

In collusion with the fraudulent activity, a 53 year old Director of one of the suppliers he liaised with as part of his role, was sentenced for four years and six weeks imprisonment at the same court.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Parish, from the fraud operations team at the City of London Police, said:

“Despite working for nearly twenty years at a prestigious law firm, it would appear that in itself was not enough and that ultimately it was this greed that was his downfall.

Evidence showed the pair set up fake companies with different directors listed to make the trail less obvious and to leave as little digital footprint as possible. Invoices were then paid for work that had not been carried out to dupe the law firm to over £1 million, they then used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle of high-end performance cars, luxury furniture and designer clothes.

The case was transferred to the specialist fraud operations team at the City of London Police.

A Cleary Gottlieb Stein and Hamilton LLP spokesperson said:

“The firm uncovered the matter as part of its monitoring and oversight processes in 2018, and immediately reported it to the police and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We would like to thank the police for their hard work and professionalism throughout this long running case.”

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Avalara helps businesses of all sizes get tax compliance right. In partnership with leading ERP, accounting, eCommerce and other financial management system providers, Avalara delivers cloudbased compliance solutions for various transactional taxes, including sales and use, VAT, GST, excise, communications, lodging, and other indirect tax types. Headquartered in Seattle, Avalara has offices across the U.S. and around the world in Canada, the U.K., Belgium, Brazil, and India.