Mr Kevin Brown of Hawkins Drive, Chafford Hundred in Essex has been sentenced to two years and eight months for stealing money from residents’ Council Tax accounts.
Brown was employed at Sevenoaks Council offices processing Council Tax revenues for Sevenoaks and Dartford Councils and despite receiving confirmation that the temporary agency worker had passed background checks the authorities’ own anti-fraud measures quickly established that he was defrauding money from Council Tax accounts.
Brown was immediately escorted from the premises and the police were informed. The subsequent investigation established that Brown had committed much larger frauds at other councils including the theft of nearly £90,000 from the London Borough of Hackney.
Council Leader Jeremy Kite said “It is highly possible that his offending would have continued in Kent as it had elsewhere but for the pretty serious anti-fraud measures we have in place locally. Brown’s fraud was spotted before a little more than £2,000 of Dartford tax payers’ money was involved and I am grateful to the diligence of officers in the two councils who acted so promptly. We will certainly be looking to recover the money although the criminal investigation and jail sentence have been our priority so far.”
Jeremy also said that although the use of temporary agency staff was quite common in the finance world, the two councils had agreed to end the use of such arrangements. “On this occasion our procedures kicked-in exactly as we would have hoped and the offences were spotted very early but the truth is that we have very great confidence in the staff we employ directly and we should entrust the job to them.”