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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 20:59 GMT
Prescott accountant sent to jail
John Prescott
Adewumni worked in John Prescott's department as a "troubleshooter"
An unqualified accountant who hid his criminal past has been jailed for four years for stealing almost 1m from John Prescott's department.

Robert Adewunmi, 32, lied about his qualifications to work for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The gambling addict used a fictitious firm and imaginary colleague to siphon off up to 133,000 at a time.

Adewunmi's wife Tami, 31, was also jailed for six months at Southwark Crown Court for helping him.

The court heard that initial inquiries suggested that a little more than half of the stolen 867,200 would be recovered.

'Audacious fraud'

Adewunmi used the money to clear debts and live a life of luxury with top-of-the-range cars for him and his wife, and property on both sides of the Atlantic.

He also splashed out a four figure sum on family portraits and bought a 10,000 bed for their home in Gilmour Close, Slough, Berkshire, which he purchased with a 50,000 deposit from their stolen money.

Adewumni admitted fraudulent trading and money laundering between September 2003 and September 2004.

Judge Christopher Hardy said the father-of-two had masterminded an "audacious" fraud on a large scale.

"Sadly it is yet another example of a public body being plundered by a dishonest employee in a position of trust, on this occasion the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister," he said.

Entrusted

"Of course it was not the deputy prime minister's money you stole, but money entrusted to him by the public, the taxpayers, and it was certainly not meant to satisfy your greed and lavish lifestyle to which you and your wife soon put it."

The judge said the "carefully planned" fraud started within weeks of him beginning work as a "trouble-shooter" in the ODPM's Budget and Data Management Division in central London.

"You were given that employment on the basis of your curriculum vitae, which falsely stated you were a qualified member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. You were no such thing," he said.

"You had been registered as a student of that body but had not completed the course by any means.

"In fact, you took only one of 14 examinations you had to pass before you could claim that status.

"Furthermore, your wife assisted you in falsifying that CV."

A spokeswoman for the ODPM said it was grateful to the Metropolitan Police Service for their help in bringing the case to justice.

"We are pleased that over half of the money stolen has been identified for recovery and we are taking steps to pursue recovery of the rest," she said.




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