Charity employee jailed after stealing £200,000 to fund gambling addiction

16 Feb 2022 News

A former finance officer at the British Society of Echocardiography has been jailed after embezzling thousands from his employer.

Police began investigating in 2019 and found Manjinder Virdi had sent over £200,000 of the charity's money to his personal bank accounts. Thousands had been spent on online gambling websites. 

As a finance officer, Virdi was responsible for managing the charity's funds between 2015 and 2019. 

During the court hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, the jury heard that Virdi had a gambling and depressive disorder which contributed to his actions.  

Virdi pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006 and was sentenced to three years in prison. 

‘Played his colleagues for fools’

British Society of Echocardiography is a medium-sized charity, with a total income of £926,760, according to its latest accounts. 

The charity was alerted to the criminal activity after receiving a warning email from its bank, which was initially redirected to Virdi. He claimed it was a scam email and should be ignored. Before long, his employer became suspicious and contacted the police.

Detective constable Gavin Markey, of the Central East Command Unit CID, said: “Virdi was entrusted to manage and protect the company's finances and he completely abused his position and the confidence placed in him, almost as if he expected to get away with it.

“In one series of transactions from October to November 2018, he took just over £85,000. From February to May 2019 he stole just over £53,000. These staggering sums of money were then frittered away via online gambling websites.

“Virdi tried to play his colleagues for fools when they were initially contacted by the bank but they knew something was not adding up and their suspicions were confirmed. Their efforts and support during our investigation has been invaluable in ensuring Virdi’s conviction and sentencing.”

A ‘trusted member of a small team’ took advantage

A spokesperson from the charity said: “This has been a very difficult time for all concerned. The individual involved was a trusted member of a small team.

“We have worked closely with the police since May 2019 to ensure they had all of the evidence required. We have also reviewed and strengthened all internal systems. This has been a long process and a huge amount of work for all involved. We know it was very upsetting for our members, but we have emerged as a stronger organisation. We would like to thank DC Gavin Markey for his help in bringing the case to a close.”

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