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Two men, from Stoke-on-Trent, have been jailed for fraud offences following their involvement in a money laundering incident, valued at more than £1m.
Jason Huntley, 52, from the Longton area, and Kenneth Lawton, 58, from the Milton area, were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Monday (3 April) having pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud through false representation at an earlier hearing.
Huntley was sentenced to 41 months behind bars and Lawton was jailed for 42 months.
The court heard how Huntley was employed by a business in Stoke-on-Trent, between January 2014 and April 2019, and in charge of purchasing mailing bags and boxes, all provided by another company.
Following an internal audit in late 2018 – early 2019, Huntley was suspected to have signed off inflated delivery notes and invoices from the company providing the mailing bags and boxes.
Stock checks confirmed more than two million mail bags and boxes should have been stored in the company’s warehouse (where Huntley worked) from the over-ordering, this was not the case.
The value from the over-ordering of the mailing bags and boxes was in excess of £1.1m.
Huntley was arrested on 9 April 2019 having admitted to establishing an agreement with Lawton, owner of the company that provided the bags and boxes, whereby Huntley would generate excessive purchase orders for bags and boxes, sign false receipts for deliveries of lower quantities, and pass on invoices to the accounts department with inflated values.
Huntley also admitted he was given envelopes of cash on a weekly basis by Lawton.
DC Kelly Harvey, of the Fraud Finance and Cyber Invest team at Staffordshire Police, said: "Huntley spotted an opportunity to betray the trust placed upon him by his employer and together with Lawton hatched a plan to defraud the family company that Huntley worked for.
"It cannot be understated the effect this fraud had on the victim’s company.
"For the first time in more than 20 years, the company had to tell the staff they could not have a pay rise, or a Christmas bonus that year, which many of the staff and their families relied upon as part of their salaries, all while Huntley and Lawton were enjoying the cash they had defrauded the victims of.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision and hope both Huntley and Lawton use their time to contemplate their actions and the financial and mental impact they had on those they targeted.”