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Sun June 13 2021

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Man jailed for council building works fraud

15 Nov 16 A council worker who approved fake building supplies invoices to scam almost a £1m has been jailed for seven and half years.

Stephen Crewdson, 46, from Manchester, was convicted of fraud and money laundering after charging Lancashire County Council for bogus construction work over five years.  

Crewdson arranged for building suppliers to bill the council for work that never existed. Money paid to the builders was then laundered through various bank accounts back to Crewdson.

In 2011, when HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) began to check suspicious transactions, Crewdson created his own fake business, BBM, registered it for VAT via an accountant and attempted to justify further fake invoices and fraudulent VAT returns to disguise his crimes.

On 11th November 2016, at Preston Crown Court, Crewdson was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

Crewdson will now face legal action to recover the stolen money.

Sandra Smith, assistant director in HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “As a council employee, Crewdson was in a privileged position approving supplier’s invoices. He abused this position of trust and was well aware that he was breaking the law. He made a deliberate attack on council funds at the expense of UK taxpayers.”

A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “We are pleased with the verdict and that this matter has been resolved. The county council takes fraud extremely seriously and we have worked closely with the police and HMRC to help bring this successful prosecution.”

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