‘Extravagant, lavish lifestyle’ funded through fraud

A company director has been jailed for six years after being part of a fraud scheme, where invoices worth £1 million were submitted to suppliers in respect of work not undertaken.

Paul Fitzsimmons had been a Facilities and Services Manager for almost 20 years at a US law firm where, as part of his role, he managed relationships with vendors of office and facilities supplies and services.

However, an investigation in 2018, sparked by suspicions raised by the firm’s finance team, found that over a three-year period, he had been submitting invoices for work that was never carried out. It transpired that he conspired with Toby Britton to set up a number of companies with different directors which submitted these fraudulent invoices to suppliers in order to “make the trail less obvious and to leave as little digital footprint as possible”. Fitzsimmons would send these invoices from his personal email and phone.

Following the investigation by the US law firm, which uncovered a wealth of transactional information, the case was transferred to the specialist fraud operations team at the City of London Police.

For his part in the fraud, Britton was sentenced to four years and six weeks.

Investigators noted the “extravagant, lavish lifestyle” enjoyed by Fitzsimmons and his partner, which included the purchase of “high-end performance cars, luxury furniture and designer clothes.”

Helen Gregory, Forensic Director at Milsted Langdon, said: “This case shows how the private sector and police can work well together.  It also shows that ostentatious living is often, but not always, a sign of criminal activity and there can often be a legitimate reason for an individual appearing to live beyond their means.

“Anyone suspected of fraud should engage a firm of forensic accountants, as these experts are regularly engaged to present the accountancy evidence to courts, in particular, by matching monetary flows to supporting documentation.”


Source: City of London Police

Posted in The Forensic Blog.