Kent fraudster used company's money to buy swimming pool and smart TV

Benjamin Cullen was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison. Credit: Kent Police

A fraudster who stole more than £200,000 from a business in Thanet to live a lavish lifesytyle has been jailed for four years.

Benjamin Cullen from Herne Bay abused his position as an IT director at the company to authorise his own purchases, buying extravagant goods, including a swimming pool.

Suspicions arose in 2020 when Cullen submitted an invoice to the accounts department for a 50-inch 4k smart television. When questioned, Cullen tried to claim it had been bought for the boardroom, but the television couldn't be found on the business premises and an old television was still in place.

An internal investigation was launched, resulting in the discovery of £202,000 worth of losses and Cullen was sacked.

A police investigation identified four parts to Cullen’s fraud which he'd carried out between 2018 and 2020.

He submitted invoices totalling £117,234 to the company for payment to two businesses which the company had never used. It was found that both of these businesses were linked to Cullen.

Statements of the company’s credit card showed 15 transactions, totalling £291,54, which were paid to an unnamed mobile number, later confirmed to belong to Cullen.

Finally, the investigation found that Cullen had made 527 transactions on an online shopping app, worth £55,940. His purchases included a swimming pool, jewellery, 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 in prison.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Newman said: "Benjamin Cullen carried out the fraud over a sustained period and it was a gross abuse of trust against a company who had given him the opportunity to work.

"His greed and desire to live the high life ultimately caught up with him and he has been forced to face up to his actions."