Fraudster jailed after stealing over £200,000 from a Thanet business
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A Herne Bay fraudster, who stole from a business in Thanet to pay for extravagant goods, has been jailed for over four years.
Benjamin Cullen abused his position as the IT director of the business, to authorise purchases using the company’s money to live a lavish lifestyle, to the sum of more than £200,000.
Suspicions arose in 2020 when Cullen submitted an invoice to the accounts department for a 50-inch 4k smart television. When questioned, Cullen tried to claim it had been bought for the boardroom, but the television could not be found on the business premises and an old television was still in place.
An internal investigation was carried out, resulting in the discovery of £202,000 worth of losses and Cullen’s dismissal.
Online shopping purchases
An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate identified four parts to Cullen’s fraud which he had carried out between 2018 and 2020: he submitted invoices totalling £117,234 to the company for payment to two businesses which the company had never used. It was found that both of these businesses were linked to Cullen.
Statements of the company’s credit card showed 15 transactions, totalling £291,54, which were paid to an unnamed mobile number, later confirmed to belong to Cullen.
Finally, the investigation found that Cullen had made 527 transactions on an online shopping app, worth £55,940. His purchases included a swimming pool, jewellery, a gaming chair, computer games, a gazebo and a pair of topiary trees.
Cullen of Peartree Road, Herne Bay pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by abuse of position.
The 43-year-old was sentenced to four years and nine months when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday 27 July 2022.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Newman said: ‘Benjamin Cullen carried out the fraud over a sustained period and it was a gross abuse of trust against a company who had given him the opportunity to work.
‘His greed and desire to live the high life ultimately caught up with him and he has been forced to face up to his actions.’