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expensive tastes

Man jailed for stealing €175,000 from the BBC to fund 'lifestyle of cars and holidays'

52-year-old Lee Richardson admitted the fraud after being investigated by the London Met Police’s online fraud unit.

CO341-17 Lee Richardson Lee Richardson

A 52-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for three years after being found guilty of stealing more than £155,000 (€175,000) from the BBC.

Former employee Lee Richardson, who worked at the BBC between 2006 and 2011, had set up a company, listed himself as a director, and then awarded it contracts to complete work for the UK’s state broadcaster.

After being promoted in 2009 to a position of contracts manager, Richardson set up his company, Sentinal Services.

The company attracted the corporation’s attention during a financial audit in 2015, which saw the BBC refer the case to the Metropolitan Police’s Fraud and Linked Crime Online (FALCON) section.

Sentinal ended up invoicing the BBC on 12 separate occasions to the tune of £155,452 for work contracts – work which FALCON concluded had never taken place.

Likewise, the work was so varied and specialised that “it was unlikely one company could have completed the work in-house without using contractors”, according to a Met statement.

“Richardson knowingly and intentionally took public money to support his lifestyle of cars and a number of family holidays,” said Detective Constable Andy Chapman, who led the investigation.

The length of the sentence Richardson has received reflects the high value of the fraud and the fact that the money was taken from the BBC, a broadcaster funded by the public.

After a Met investigation, Richardson pleaded guilty in April to one count of fraud concerning abuse of his position. He also returned the money he stole in full to the BBC.

On foot of that admission, he was sentenced to three years in prison at Kingston Crown Court.

Read: Chris Evans and Graham Norton among BBC’s top-paid presenters

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