Middleton fraudsters jailed after a business was fleeced of almost £450,000

Date published: 13 May 2022

A man from Middleton and his accomplice have been jailed after fleecing a business of almost £450,000.

Paul Young, 37, of Middleton, has been jailed for three years and three months after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

His accomplice, Liam Henry, of no fixed abode, has also been jailed for two years and two months after pleading guilty to acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.

In 2016 Young was working for a solicitor’s firm based in Manchester and was regularly working with an insurance company dealing with claims arising from road traffic collisions.

In October that year, senior managers within the firm became aware that a payment of just over £5,000 had been paid into an incorrect bank account on the instruction of Young.

He was subsequently disciplined but claimed he had been suffering from mental health issues and strenuously denied that this was anything other than human error.

This was accepted and he was given the benefit of the doubt.

Following a further fraud, it then became apparent the bank account the money had been transferred to was actually being controlled by Young and he had been using an automated payment system to ensure that certain payments were not made to claimants and were directed to his own bank accounts.

In June 2019 a colleague of Young's took over a particular case after the client asked when payments would be made.

It soon became clear that Young had authorised six payments – amounting to over £32,000 – between September 2017 and May 2019 which had all been transferred to accounts belonging to him.

One account the money had been sent to was one Young was using for his wages.

An internal investigation was launched, whereby it was discovered Young had made numerous transactions. He had regularly been changing bank account details to that of one of his own accounts. Over the three-year period, Young transferred £437,598.79 to himself.

The funds were being used on gambling website, living expenses and third-party transfers were also being made, 75 of which were made to Liam Henry.

Henry received £184,850 from Young between July 2016 and May 2019. As soon as Henry received the payment, he would withdraw the money in cash.

Detective Constable Michelle Wilkinson of GMP's Complex Fraud Team said: “Young's deceitful, brazen and criminal behaviour spanned three years, and caused significant financial lost for both his employer and their clients.

“He held a position of trust within his workplace and had access to large sums of money but instead of carrying out his duties he abused his power for his own criminal gain.

“Even after he'd been caught out the first time and pleaded his innocence he then continued to make bank transfers to his own account and then share this with Henry, leaving them both to reap the rewards and splash the stolen cash.

“I am grateful today that we've been able to secure a significant custodial sentence for both these men and I hope it sends a warning to all those who feel this type of behaviour is acceptable.

“Just because you may think there are no victims in a crime such as this doesn't mean there aren't serious consequences for all those involved, and GMP will do all it can to ensure those responsible face the appropriate justice.”

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