Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Navy officer Lt Cdr Andrew Ball dismissed over fraud

A Royal Navy officer from Hampshire has been dismissed from the service after being found guilty of defrauding the Ministry of Defence of almost £1,500.

Lt Cdr Andrew Ball claimed for personal expenses during a work exchange at the US navy's war college, Rhode Island.

Ball, 41, had faced nine charges of fraud relating to the work placement in 2009 and was found guilty of seven.

A court martial gave him a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay back the money.

Capt Stuart Crozier, prosecuting at the Portsmouth court martial, said Ball had dishonestly claimed twice for items by first paying using an online expenses system and then paying again using a government procurement card - similar to a credit card.

'Systematic' fraud

In total he was found guilty of £1,473 of fraudulent claims.

Ball had said he had difficulty keeping on top of paperwork while on the assignment.

Although the married father, based at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, lost his £48,000-a-year job, he will keep his pension and a lump sum.

His defence counsel Christopher Wing had told the court that the Iraq veteran should keep his job.

He said: "What is the effect to the Royal Navy losing such a highly qualified, able and experienced officer as much has been spent on his training and this acquisition of experience?"

But Judge Advocate Robert Hill said the fraud was "systematic" and Ball's high rank made the crime worse.

He said the panel did not accept that he should keep his job just because he was well qualified.

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