Banking exec jailed over fake £3m HMRC payments

A finance chief at a city bank has been jailed for four and a half years after he created two fake payments worth £2.9m, from his employer to HMRC, and then diverted the funds to himself

Simon Olver, who was head of finance, accounting, reporting and tax at Credit Industriel et  Commercial Bank, spent over £230,000 of the money on designer watches, down payments on sports cars and a house, and luxury holidays.

Olver was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court having pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud by abuse of position and one offence of creating articles for use in fraud, following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad.

The court heard Olver had been in his job for just under a year when he submitted the first of two fraudulent payment requests.

This was supposedly a payment of £479,044 to HMRC to settle an outstanding corporation tax bill for 2017. However, Olver substituted his own bank account details in place of HMRC’s details, and named his account ‘HMRC Cumbernauld’ to make the transaction appear more genuine.

Once the payment had been authorised, Olver then sent the payment request to the settlements team to process it and release the funds.

Two weeks later, Olver submitted another payment request in the same way as the first, worth £2,477,122. Again, it was supposedly being paid to HMRC to settle an outstanding corporation tax bill.

Following these payments, Olver’s bank informed his employer of two very large and suspicious payments into his account. At this point, the Fraud Squad was notified, and on the same day officers attended the branch where he worked and arrested him.

In his interview, whilst admitting to his actions, Olver stated that he had been under immense stress and was struggling with debts.

The Fraud Squad also discovered that Olver had copied his manager’s signature, from the previous two fraudulent payment requests, with the intention of submitting a third worth £1,550,000. However, Olver was arrested by officers the day before it is thought he was planning to submit the payment.

Detective Constable Richard Cole, who led the investigation for the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said: ‘Olver betrayed the trust of his employer and used his position to steal nearly £3m. Despite claiming in his interview that he needed the money for debt payments, it’s evident that he also used it to enjoy a luxury lifestyle, purchasing expensive items such as watches and jewellery.’

Sarah Place of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: ‘Simon Olver seriously abused his position of trust which impacted on his employers, his colleagues and those close to him. Faced with a wealth of evidence, which showed he had requested the transfer of company money to his own bank account under false pretences, he had to admit his wrongdoing.

‘In addition to the sentence of four and a half years imprisonment imposed on him, the CPS will now take steps to recover the monies fraudulently taken through Mr Olver’s dishonest actions.’

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