University officer jailed for six years after £2.4m fraud

A head of payments at the University of Brighton has been jailed for six years after he fraudulently acquired more than £2.4m in cash over three decades

David Hall used his position as the head of income and payments at the University of Brighton to fraudulently acquire an estimated £2.4m over 30 years.

He was sentenced to six years at Hove Crown Court on 16 March 2023 having previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, theft by an employee and false accounting.

HH Judge Chapple said: ‘The scale and breadth of your dishonesty over 30 years is breathtaking. It was systematic, persistent dishonesty, causing stress, heartache and pressure on other employees. Where did it go? On holidays and fine dining.’

Chapple described the ‘enormous damage’ done to the university through his ‘systematic dishonesty’ and added that ordinary members of the public would ‘not dream of being dishonest’.

In November 2021, after an audit discovered the scale of the fraud, the university reported the matter to Sussex Police.

Following an independent financial investigation commissioned by the university, alongside a police investigation, Hall was discovered to have been affiliated with a complex string of financial cover-ups.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Hall admitted his offences and was charged with fraud by abuse of position, theft by an employee and false accounting. He pleaded guilty to all charges on 16 February.

Investigator Rose Horan said: ‘Over time, Hall’s activity became more difficult for him to conceal. After an audit uncovered the scale of Hall’s embezzlement, the University of Brighton was quick to report the fraud to Sussex Police and their support throughout the investigation has been invaluable in bringing David Hall to justice.

‘Despite 30 years of dishonesty, the judge considered Mr Hall’s candour once his actions were uncovered, and reduced what would have been a nine-year sentence by one-third.

‘The university’s impact statement categorised the damage done, including its impact on fellow staff. Confiscation will take its course over the next few months but, likely, the full amount will not be recovered.’

Max Austin |Reporter, Accountancy Daily 

Max Austin is a reporter at Accountancy Daily.If you have any news stories, please email me at: ...

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