Suspended sentence for former Herts County Council employee after fraud conviction

PUBLISHED: 11:14 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 16 September 2020

St Albans Crown Court. Picture: DANNY LOO

St Albans Crown Court. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

A former employee of Hertfordshire County Council has been convicted of fraud after abusing his position by submitting false invoices.

Balraj Rai from Stevenage pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation – which can carry of a sentence of up to 10 years in prison – at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, September 11.

The court heard how a manager at the county council reported her concerns of false invoices to the Shared Anti-Fraud Service while auditing her team’s budget.

An investigation found the Mr Rai, an employee of Hertfordshire County Council, had submitted four invoices for his own company totalling £2,316 for work he had not been commissioned to undertake.

The 45-year-old, of Tamar Close, admitted that he had done so purely to create the illusion that his company had completed design works for the council in order to gain financially.

Mr Rai pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and repaid the debt prior to his court appearance.

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On Friday, he was sentenced to 16 weeks custody, suspended for 12 months, in addition to an order to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in the community.

He was also ordered to pay £1,595.66 costs plus a victim surcharge of £150.

County councillor Ralph Sangster, who is Hertfordshire cabinet member for resources, said: “This individual operated dishonestly and fraudulently to make a financial gain for himself.

“Thankfully, the swift actions of the manager made sure that he was brought to justice.”

In a fraud by false representation case it has to be proved that they made a false representation, dishonestly, knowing that the representation was or might be untrue or misleading and with intent to make a gain for himself or another, to cause loss to another or to expose another to risk of loss.

The offence is entirely focused on the conduct of the defendant, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Anyone with information about any fraud against the council, including housing, council tax or Blue Badge fraud can report it in confidence by visiting hertfordshire.gov.uk/reportfraud or by calling the Shared Anti-Fraud Service hotline on 0300 123 4033.


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