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IT specialist jailed for defrauding council of £1m

Mark Conway diverted public money to his own account to pay off gambling debts.

Council: Conway jailed for more than five years over fraud.
Council: Conway jailed for more than five years over fraud.

A council IT expert who admitted stealing more than £1m of public cash has been jailed.

Mark Conway, who had high level access to Dundee City Council's electronic financial systems, created numerous false invoices that he paid into his own accounts to cover gambling debts.

The invoices would range from nearly £6000 to more than £27,000, spanning the seven-year period of the fraud.

The 52-year-old from Brechin, Angus, admitted defrauding a total of £1,065,085 between August 2009 and May last year.

Only £7337 of the money was recovered after he lost the rest betting on football matches.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Graeme Buchanan told the first offender: "I accept it was your addiction to gambling that led to the commission of this crime.

"However, that is no excuse for what you did. It was a serious breach of trust."

'I accept it was your addiction to gambling that led to the commission of this crime.'
Judge Graeme Buchanan

He told Conway that, but for his early guilty plea he would have jailed him for eight years. He was sentenced to five years and four months.

The court was told that Conway has signed over most of his pension and lump sum - amounting to £258,966 - to the council.

His home, which has £49,000 equity, will be sold and the cash will go to the council.

The court was told Conway sought help for his gambling problems in 2016.

He was caught and suspended in May last year after an employee became aware of an unusual payment paid in to a Nationwide building society account.

A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: "We acknowledge the sentence that has been passed by the court today on a former employee of the local authority.

"Following the discovery of this crime, Dundee City Council has taken action to prevent a fraud of this type from happening again in the future.

"An independent review of procedures has already gone ahead and measures have been put in place to strengthen controls.

"Dundee City Council is involved in ongoing efforts to ensure that the funds taken from the authority by this individual are recovered."

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