Thieving Navy clerks

Royal Navy ratings fiddled £200,000 in expenses from MoD

JPA be damned eh? Looks like at least one of them is up for deportation too.

Two Royal Navy ratings fiddled over £200,000 in expenses from the Ministry of Defence by creating false identities, with one of them using the money to buy a sports car and a house.

Kern Hackshaw, 25, and Alison John, 25, carried out the fraud after they were put in charge of their logistic unit's expenses and auditing department.

The pair were unable to claim mileage, travelling or sustenance expenses because they were confined to their desks and never left never the RNAS Culdrose base in Cornwall.

But they set up a ''complicated'' financial racket by stealing computer IDs and passwords. They then created fake identities to claim thousands of pounds in expenses.

They put in claims for thousands of miles and journeys they never took and all the money was diverted into their own bank accounts.

Both men, originally from St Vincent in the Caribbean, carried out the fraud while in charge of the department over a two year period from 2007 to 2008.

Hackshaw took £177,732 through 75 fake claims. He spent £18,000 on a deposit for a BMW and £26,151 deposit on his home in Saltash, Cornwall.

John fiddled £34,326 through eight claims but kept all the money in a savings account, Truro Cornwall Court heard.

The court heard the fiddle cast a ''shadow of suspicion'' over everyone who worked at the base with officials unsure who was claiming more than they were entitled to.

Hackshaw admitted 18 counts of fraud and converting criminal property obtained by fraud from the Royal Navy and asked for a another 59 offences to be taken into consideration.

He was jailed for two years and eight months. John, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of dishonesty, was jailed for sixteen months.

Philip Lee, prosecuting, said: ''Both defendants used specialist knowledge of the expenses system to order these false claims and authorise these fraudulent claims. Hackshaw and John were in charge travel-to-duty allowance and mileage and neither were allowed these allowances because the both lived on base.

''They had a significant duty of trust - this was gross negligence. They knew log in details and password details needed to put in false claims and authorise them.''

Fred Howell, defending, said Hackshaw was ''full of remorse'' and had ''brought shame upon himself'' and John ''took full responsibility for his actions''.

The court heard both men have since been dismissed from the Navy and Hackshaw will be the subject of a Proceeds of Crime Act to try and recover the money.

Hackshaw does not have a British passport and could be deported following an immigration hearing in April.

A statement form the MoD said: ''The MoD police is pleased the investigation had resulted in the conviction of these two offenders. They tried to deceive the MoD and stole this money out of greed depriving her Majesty's Armed Forces of funds.

''Such criminal activity will always be punished and we hope the prison sentences handed out today will serve to highlight the MoD's zero tolerance approach to such theft.''
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