Hartlebury rep jailed after £100k swindle

RAN SCAM: Stephen Charles Clark.

RAN SCAM: Stephen Charles Clark.

First published in News

A COMPANY rep from Hartlebury who swindled his bosses out of £100,000 with phone orders for fictitious firms has been jailed following a West Midlands Regional Fraud Team enquiry.

Stephen Charles Clark bought hundreds of phones using cash from the accounts of facilities firm EBC Group Halesowen, where he worked for three years, before forwarding them to businesses he had set up or were being run by friends.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Clark, of Saxons Meadow in Hartlebury, ran the scam between October, 2012 and June, 2013 before bosses became suspicious at being landed with bills from network providers for phones they never set eyes on.

The West Midlands Regional Fraud Team − which also covers West Mercia, Warwickshire and Staffordshire Police areas − probed the business’ books and found the 42-year-old had pocketed around £100,000 from selling on the phones.

When Metropolitan Police officers − interested in Clark as part of a drugs case − seized his car they found more than £200,000 hidden in the boot.

Clark went on to admit three counts of theft - for which he was jailed for 12 months - and was found guilty of money laundering relating to the cash find for which he will spend an additional 15 months behind bars.

Investigating officer Det Con Alistair Gadd, said: "Clark has left a black hole in the accounts of his former employer…but a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) application is under way to seize assets we can prove were funded through criminal means.

"None of the phones have been recovered - they were quickly sold on with Clark pocketing the cash - while the money laundering was linked to a Met Police drug distribution enquiry.

"Clark’s career is in ruins and we’ll be pushing hard to recover every penny of the money he swindled from the company."

Clark was jailed when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court, London, on June 26.

The West Midlands Regional Fraud Team - consisting of six West Midlands Police officers - was established last November and aims to disrupt crime networks by probing the finances of suspected criminals.

It has resulted in members of organised crime gangs being prosecuted and jailed for offences such as mortgage fraud and money laundering.

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