Employer

Fraudster jailed after stealing £200,000 from employer Blaze Signs to fund the ‘high life’ – The Isle Of Thanet News

Cullen was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court for his fraud

A fraudster who robbed his employer of Blaze Signs in Thanet to pay for extravagant goods has been jailed for over four years.

Benjamin Cullen, of Herne Bay, has abused his position as the company’s IT director, to authorize purchases using company money to live a lavish life, for the sum of more than £200,000.

Suspicions arose in 2020 when Cullen submitted an invoice to the accounting department for a 50-inch 4k smart TV. When questioned, Cullen attempted to claim it was purchased for the conference room, but the television was nowhere to be found in the business premises and an old television was still in place.

An internal investigation was carried out, resulting in the discovery of £202,000 in losses and Cullen’s dismissal.

An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Branch identified four elements of Cullen’s fraud which he committed between 2018 and 2020: he submitted bills totaling £117,234 to the company for payment to two companies that the company had never used. Both of these companies were found to be linked to Cullen.

Statements from the company’s credit card showed 15 transactions, totaling £291.54, which were paid to an anonymous mobile number later confirmed to belong to Cullen.

Finally, the investigation revealed that Cullen made 527 transactions on an online shopping app, worth £55,940. Her purchases included a swimming pool, jewelry, a gaming chair, computer games, a gazebo, and a pair of topiary trees.

Cullen of Peartree Road, Herne Bay pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by abuse of position.

The 43-year-old was sentenced to four years and nine months when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday July 27, 2022.

The investigating officer, Detective Constable Mark Newman, said: ‘Benjamin Cullen committed the fraud over an extended period of time and it was a gross breach of trust against a company that gave him the opportunity to work.

“His greed and desire to live the high life finally caught up with him and he was forced to face his actions.”