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Lincolnshire ghost work scammers ordered to pay £16,300 to Balfour Beatty

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

Lincoln Crown Court

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Two men involved in a "ghost worker" scam which defrauded a construction company have had thousands of pounds worth of assets confiscated by a court.

Craig Topley and Darren Statham were among five men who admitted their parts in the fraud on Balfour Beatty.

Recorder Sam Mainds, sitting at Lincoln Crown Court, ruled that Topley should have £14,757 confiscated as the benefits of his crime.

Topley, who is currently working in Kuwait, was given 28 days to pay and will face a nine-month jail sentence if he fails to hand over the money.

Statham was ruled to have benefited from crime by £3,554. His only asset was identified as a van worth £1,625 and he was ordered to pay the value of the van within six months or face a 35-day prison sentence.

The seized money will be paid back to Balfour Beatty as compensation.

At an earlier hearing Topley, 38, a former Balfour Beatty contracts manager, of Flinders Way, Cherry Willingham, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud. He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 125 hours of unpaid work.

Statham, 42, of Dunmore Close, Lincoln, who was recruited as a ghost worker, admitted one charge of fraud. He was placed under the supervision of a probation officer for six months and ordered to complete 125 hours of unpaid work.

A court hearing last year was told that the scam was masterminded by construction manager Sean Sullivan who pocketed more than £90,000 by authorising payments to bogus workers.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said the "simple" fraud ran from November 2005 to March 2011.

Bogus employees were created and their personal details put on the payroll. Time sheets were then put together and signed off by the managers.

Confiscation hearings for two other defendants involved in the fraud were adjourned until next month when Sean Sullivan and a second defendant, Christopher Lang, will appear back before the court.

Sean Sullivan, 46, of Adelaide Close, Waddington, is currently serving a three-year jail sentence after admitting to obtaining property by deception from Balfour Beatty and three related fraud offences.

Lang, 46, of Lincoln Road, Saxilby, admitted one charge of theft. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

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  • rascall1  |  February 25 2013, 11:55AM

    Brings whole new meaning to spiriting away money then

    |   6
  • paper  |  February 25 2013, 10:32AM

    From reading this it sounds like it went like this... "You, young man go earn lots of money in Kuwait, don't worry about the unpaid work you have work to do, just pay me 15K from your tax free earnings"... "You young man have spent your part, your old van will do as payment"... "And you young man can go to prison, well I've got to be seen punishing one of you!".... Very strange case & outcome.

    |   11
  • Pete67  |  February 25 2013, 10:04AM

    Funny, but if they had have worked slower they would probably have made the same money legally.

    |   6