Postal worker jailed for £1.2 million chequebook fraud

A postal worker from Birmingham has been jailed for seven years after conspiring to commit fraud.

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Caught red-handed: How million-pound fraudster was stopped

A Royal Mail worker from Handsworth, who has been jailed for seven years after conspiring to commit fraud amounting to £1.2million, was caught following a joint investigation by West Midlands Police, Royal Mail and the banks who fell victim.

The defendant, Paul Akuda, was caught stealing chequebooks from Royal Mail's central sorting depot, in Birmingham, where he worked... Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Seven years into Paul Akuda's employment at the company's central sorting depot in Birmingham, in November 2010, the Royal Mail Investigations Department noted a spike in the loss or theft of mail at the site and immediately launched an internal investigation.

Subsequently, Mr Akuda was identified as a result of surveillance, seen taking post from an area of the depot, putting the stolen items into a carrier bag and leaving the depot.

Mr Akuda is found to have stolen up to five-hundred chequebooks in fraud amounting to £1.2million... Credit: PA

After being notified, Police then recovered thirty-eight stolen chequebooks following a search of his property in Handsworth, Birmingham, along with four from his bag and two more from his work locker.

The chequebooks were stolen over a seven month period - between October 2010 and May 2011 - and used in fraud amounting to losses of over £1million to a number of banks.

Fraudster "key" to criminal enterprise

A man charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and jailed for seven years, has been described as "key" to a criminal enterprise resulting in losses of over £1million to a number of banks.

Following an investigation by Royal Mail and West Midlands Police, Paul Akuda was observed carrying out the theft of chequebooks from Royal Mail's central sorting depot in Birmingham and was subsequently arrested and charged for his part in the crime.

Kerry Moreton, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Akuda from Handsworth, abused his position of trust within the Royal Mail:

Mr Akuda began a campaign of dishonesty against his employers which resulted in innocent members of the public having their chequebooks stolen and money taken out of their bank accounts...

Over a seven month period, Akuda stole cheque books from the sorting depot where he worked and then sold these books on to third parties who would then use them in fraudulent transactions...

Although his illegal activities resulted in losses of over a £1million to a number banks, there was no evidence to suggest that Akuda was more deeply involved in the frauds than acting as the original thief and supplier of the chequebooks, but his actions were key to the whole enterprise and without which the rest of the fraud could not have taken place.

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Postal worker jailed for £1.2million fraud

A postal worker from Handsworth, in Birmingham, has been jailed for seven years after he was found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud amounting to losses of £1.2million.

The theft of hundreds of cheque books took place at a sorting office in Birmingham... Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

64-year-old Paul Akuda worked at the Royal Mail's central sorting depot at Mail Centre, St Stephens Street in Birmingham, from November 2003 until his suspension on 26 May 2011.

An investigation found that over five-hundred chequebooks were stolen from the depot between October 2010 and May 2011 alone, most of which Mr Akuda is deemed responsible for.

Although he received little financial benefit from the crime hiimself, his actions resulted in losses of over a £1million to a number banks, according to the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service.

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