Former Letchworth BID boss jailed for 20 months after £61,000 Covid fraud

By Layth Yousif

8th Feb 2024 | Local News

Former Letchworth BID boss jailed for 20 months after £61,000 Covid fraud. PICTURE CREDIT: Letchworth Nub News
Former Letchworth BID boss jailed for 20 months after £61,000 Covid fraud. PICTURE CREDIT: Letchworth Nub News

A former Letchworth BID boss has been jailed for 20 months after conducting a £61,000 Covid fraud.

Christopher Andoh-Wilson, 32, has been resentenced to 20 months immediate imprisonment.

The move came after disgraced Andoh-Wilson was originally handed a far more lenient sentence of a suspended two year sentence.

Andoh-Wilson pleaded guilty to five offences under The Fraud Act 2006 and one offence under The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 but was spared immediate imprisonment after the presiding judge was presented with character witness statements at sentencing.

However, to add insult to injury it emerged two of the character references given by Andoh-Wilson's representatives were not genuine.

One of the documents in question was a certificate purportedly from the Mayor of Luton awarded for his service within the local community - but the person who signed the certificate was not the Mayor of Luton at the time the certificate was allegedly awarded.

The second was an employers reference which had been forged by Andoh-Wilson without the knowledge of his employers.

This led to Hertfordshire County Council making an application to the Court to consider a variation of sentence.

Councillor Bob Deering, Executive Member for Resources and Performance at Hertfordshire County Council said: "I would like to express my thanks to the Judge, our own staff and management of the Letchworth Business Improvement District who worked closely to deliver justice in this case.

"This was a fraud that abused funds intended to help businesses in the Letchworth area recover from the COVID pandemic., instead Mr Andoh-Wilson sought to gain financially.

"Hertfordshire's Shared Anti-Fraud Service works with partners across the sector and country to identify and detect cases like this, ensuring the protection of public funds that should be used for the benefit of residents and businesses.

"My message is clear – if you seek to commit fraud against public bodies in Hertfordshire and further afield - your time is coming."

Convicted fraudster's crimes

The offences committed by Mr Andoh-Wilson relate to his employment by the Letchworth Garden City Business Improvement District (BID) between 1 April 2019 and 21 July 2021, where he was employed in the capacity as the Town Centre Manager.

Using the details of businesses within Letchworth Garden City, which he obtained through his employment, he made applications for several Covid business grants from North Herts Council and had the funds directed into bank accounts controlled by him.

He further abused his position, by fraudulently retaining funds paid by local businesses for trading or street licences that should have been paid to North Herts Council.

The sentencing followed an 18-month investigation conducted by the Hertfordshire County Council's Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) on behalf of North Herts Council, supported by Hertfordshire County Council's legal team.

The fraudulent activity against North Herts Council and Letchworth Garden City BID amounted to £61,015.86 and Hertfordshire County Council's Shared Anti-Fraud Service are working with the courts to recover this money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

     

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