Students’ union almost goes bust after grandad’s £800,000 fraud goes undetected for over 13 years

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A students’ union almost went bust after its finance manager took £800,000 to live a life of luxury.

Grandfather-of-six Graham Jackson, 59, enjoyed expensive holidays, cars, paid for his daughters’ weddings and even gave his wife £200-a-day spending money.

His fraud at Hull University went undetected for 13-and-a-half years and cost 11 of his colleagues their jobs.

Jackson was employed at Hull University Union (HUU) from November 2000 to August 2015, before he was given a £22,000 exit package offer following an investigation that revealed the organisation’s accounts were in disarray.

Prosecuting, Stephen Welch, told Hull Crown Court that Jackson raised invoices that appeared to show regular payments for supplies but the money was, in fact, going into Jackson’s personal savings accounts.

After initially admitting ‘some wrongdoing’ in September 2015, Jackson confessed he had used the same method again and again to steal from his employer.

Mr Welch said: Mr Jackson used the money to pay for expensive holidays.

Some was used to pay for the weddings of his two daughters. Two cars were purchased for him and his wife.

His wife, who was interviewed as part of the police investigation, accepts withdrawing £200 a day for spending money.

Charges were brought against his wife.

Mr Welch added: Mr Jackson’s wife maintained that she knew nothing of his dishonesty.

He says he told her he had been promoted and was receiving a higher income.

Jackson, from Hornsea, East Yorks, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft, nine counts of fraud and three counts of false accounting. He was jailed for five years.

Mitigating, David Godfrey told the court that Jackson, who was earning £42,000-a-year when he left HUU, was a man of previously good character and that his client got ‘hooked in’.

Mr Godfrey said: Mr Jackson became addicted to it. He didn’t know how to stop.

He knew this day was coming.

In a statement read to the court by Matthew Evans, president of HUU, he described how the union could have faced closure.

He said: If HUU was a more typical charity, that did not have the backing and support of the University of Hull as a key funder, it is likely that a fraud of this scale would have led to its closure.

The court was told the total sum taken from the organisation was £800,906.28 and Jackson was described as ‘greedy’ by Judge Mark Bury.

Judge Bury said: It is said the reasons why this began are unclear. But it seems tolerably clear to me – you are greedy and you could not manage on your salary, which was hardly a pittance.

You went on holidays, you bought cars and you paid for the weddings of your two daughters.

Your wife was on a stipend of £200-a-day. I have grave reservations that she could be that naive, as you make out.

The morale within the finance team of the students’ union is now at rock bottom and people have lost their bonuses.

The people who have lost their jobs worked with you for many years. They trusted you.

Jackson, who must serve about half his sentence before he is eligible for release on licence, now faces a Proceeds of Crimes Act hearing to determine how much, if any, of the cash can be recouped.

News Source MirrorNews

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