England

Housing chief at West Bromwich-based group jailed over £325,000 fraud

A public housing chief who abused his position to steal £325,000 to buy a sandwich shop franchise has been jailed for three years.

Lakhbir Jaspal, 47, who earned £147,000 a year as deputy chief executive of West Bromwich-based Accord Group, conned his employers with bogus invoices, West Midlands Police said.

Police found money had been used to buy two Subway franchises in Coventry.

Jaspal admitted eight counts of fraud at Birmingham Crown Court.

He was handed concurrent jail sentences for his crimes.

When the qualified accountant's ruse was uncovered he lied to officers, telling them he needed cash to fund end-of-life care for his mother.

Police later discovered the money had been used to buy the two Subway franchises, with Jaspal on his way to acquiring a third when his scheming was uncovered.

He resigned from his post at Accord in June.

Det Con Mark Delaney said: "It is a classic case of pure greed.

"Not satisfied with a £147,000-a-year salary he spotted an opportunity to defraud the company - one that is part-funded by the taxpayer - to line his own pockets."

A spokesperson for Accord said: "We were shocked and disappointed with the actions of this one individual within our company who abused his position to steal.

"This was an isolated incident and we have a zero tolerance policy against any such crimes.

"We have a legal agreement in place to recover the money and all costs, and we would like to reassure our staff and customers that it is business as usual for the group."

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