A former employee of Solihull Council has today, Wednesday 17 July, been sentenced to three years in prison for fraudulently obtaining money to a value of £75,000.
Wesley Roberts of Coventry pleaded guilty to charges under the Fraud Act 2006 at an earlier hearing on 29 April at Birmingham Crown Court.
Roberts was employed as the Transport Manager at Solihull Council from September 2015 but after information came to light via the Council’s internal financial controls and whistleblowing procedures about his actions, a complex investigation was undertaken.
Officers from the Council’s Audit Services team uncovered Roberts had presented a false qualification certificate at the start of his employment, which enabled him to get the job and receive over £47,000 of earnings.
He hired equipment and materials for his self-employed gardening business, totalling around £14,000. Plus he hired vehicles for personal use which added up to approximately £22,000.
Furthermore, Roberts obtained a refund from a Council supplier for £4,000, which he paid directly into his own bank account. He also raised invoices for works that hadn’t been undertaken, to the value of £21,000.
Roberts was interviewed by Audit Services in November 2016 and was dismissed immediately.
Councillor Bob Sleigh OBE, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We are pleased with today’s outcome and that Wesley Roberts has been handed a custodial sentence for his actions.
“We pride ourselves on the great working environment and conditions we provide to our employees. Roberts abused this and his position, purely for his own personal financial gain.
“His devious and unlawful behaviour was soon detected due to the effective processes we have in place.
“I hope today’s sentencing sends a clear message that people who choose to defraud the Council, by whatever means, will be caught and dealt with appropriately.”
Solihull Council investigates different types of fraud including: housing tenancy fraud, council tax fraud, contractor fraud, expenses fraud, cash or cheque fraud, stock theft, and purchase card misuse. People can report fraud online at www.solihull.gov.uk/fraud, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0800 028 8535