A former broker and his partner have been jailed over a conspiracy to defraud his employer of more than $2.3 million US dollars (over £1.757million GBP).
Simon Higginson, a broker for maritime insurance firm Willis Group Limited (now Willis Towers Watson), led a sophisticated fraud scheme involving the identity theft of a business contact and was today (19 August 2016) sentenced to five years imprisonment. His partner Lee Willis, with whom Higginson shared a home, was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Naheed Hussain, Deputy Head of the Specialist Fraud Division said:
“This case of sophisticated fraud spanning over a decade is an example of a successful organisation falling victim to fraudulent activity within its ranks.
“Whilst some counter-corruption, money laundering, bribery and fraud protections were in place at the company, the evidence showed that Mr Higginson simply adjusted his tactics in response to any new measure, making forgeries and telling lies to cover up his criminal activity.
“The strength of the evidence and the Crown’s case against Higginson and Willis led to them pleading guilty.”
Between 1 August 2003 and 1 January 2014 Higginson and Willis conspired together to defraud Willis Group Limited by dishonestly claiming and receiving purported commission payments into bank accounts.
On 19 August 2016 the guilty plea for a charge of conspiracy to defraud was formally accepted. The remaining charges will lie on file.
Details of charges:
Simon Higginson and Lee Willis were charged with conspiracy to defraud Willis Group Limited by dishonestly claiming and receiving, into bank accounts held in the names Brokermarine and Enargee Consulting Limited, payments they said were commission in usual business transactions.
Higginson was additionally charged with obtaining money transfers by deception and fraud contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006.
Lee Willis was additionally charged with concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property, or removing criminal property from England and Wales and Fraud by Abuse of Position contrary to section 4 Fraud Act 2006.