Jail sentence for man over £2.4million university fraud
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A University of Brighton employee who stole more than £2million in cash over 30 years has been jailed.
David Hall, 64, of Shepherds Way in Ringmer, appeared at Hove Crown Court on Thursday (16 March), where he was sentenced to six years in jail having previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, theft by an employee and false accounting.
A confiscation order is also due to be determined focused on Hall’s illicitly gained funds.
Hall used his position as the Head of Income and Payments at the university to embezzle around £2.4million and cover up his activity through fraudulent entries in the university’s accounts.
The matter was reported to Sussex Police in November, 2021, after the university discovered the fraud.
An independent financial investigation commissioned by the university, alongside the police investigation, uncovered a complex string of financial cover-ups by Hall which were only revealed through forensic scrutiny.
During the trial Hall claimed the frauds had first started due to his own personal debts.
Addressing Hall at court, HH Judge Chapple said: “The scale and breadth of your dishonesty over 30 years is breathtaking. It was systematic, persistent dishonesty, causing stress, heartache and pressure on other employees.
“Where did it go? On holidays and fine dining.”
Judge Chapple added that ordinary members of the public who face debt day in, day out, would not dream of being dishonest, and said Hall’s actions were motivated by greed.
Investigator Rose Horan said: “Over time, Hall’s activity became more difficult for him to conceal.
“After an audit uncovered the scale of Hall’s embezzlement, the University of Brighton was quick to report the fraud to Sussex Police and their support throughout the investigation has been invaluable in bringing David Hall to justice.
"Despite 30 years of dishonesty, the judge considered Mr Hall's candour once his actions were uncovered, and reduced what would have been a nine year sentence by one third.
"The university's impact statement categorised the damage done, including its impact on fellow staff. Confiscation will take its course over the next few months but it is likely that the full amount will not be recovered.”