A SERIAL conman who defrauded West Cumbria-based Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC) out of more than £40,000 has been jailed for six years.
James Cox, 51, falsified a CV and invented references to land the £65,000-a-year role of finance director at the regeneration agency.
Cox then swindled the organisation out of public money to the tune of £40,687. He splashed this cash in Carlisle on a Jaguar car which he then traded in to acquire other luxury vehicles in the Grange-over-Sands and Ulverston areas.
But Cox’s crimes caught up with him after he left BEC, which called in police after suspicions were raised.
Jailed twice previously for other fiddles, he was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today (FRI) having admitted six crimes. These were two frauds and four counts of transferring criminal property, all committed during 2015.
Cox, of no fixed address, was jailed by Recorder Mark Ainsworth, who told the fraudster he carried out a “planned and determined deception.”
Detective Inspector Dan StQuintin commented: “I welcome the sentencing today, this successful prosecution was brought about by the hard work of west Cumbrian detectives working closely with Britain’s Energy Coast and Avon and Somerset Police. James Cox has stolen over £40,000 from a fund set up to help communities in Cumbria that need it most, he has put jobs and community projects at risk. He has used this money to fund a lifestyle he could not afford. He was tracked down to the Bristol area and arrested. Cumbria Constabulary does not tolerate any sort of fraud. Three of our six main aims are to work with our partners, protect our communities and investigate crime. With this sentencing, it shows Cumbria Constabulary achieving its aims for our communities.
“I ask all companies and charities to be diligent when they take on new clients or staff. Check CVs, follow up references and report any suspicions quickly. Britain’s Energy Coast did this, so we were able to catch COX. All reports we receive will be treated sensitively and seriously.”
The fraudulent activity was discovered following an internal audit at the request of Michael Pemberton following his appointment to the position of CEO, and a file was turned over to the police in March 2016.
Britain’s Energy Coast is pleased to see Cox sentenced concurrently for obtaining employment by false reference, and for theft by fraud.
Cox’s arrest and subsequent sentencing follows a significant operation carried out by Cumbria Police to locate him, and bring him back to Cumbria to stand trial at Carlisle Crown Court. BEC are exceptionally grateful for the diligence of Cumbria’s police force in ensuring he could be brought to justice.
BEC Chairman Nigel Catterson commented: “On behalf of the BEC Board and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Cumbria Constabulary and CEO of BEC, Michael Pemberton and those who assisted in bringing James Cox to justice. Cumbria Constabulary have managed to bring to justice a person who has evaded a number of other Constabularies throughout the country. They should be justifiably proud of their achievement.”
Britain’s Energy Coast are urging other companies who find themselves victims of financial crime to deal with the matter swiftly. Nigel added: “Unfortunately this type of crime all too often never comes to public attention due to shame and fear of damage to reputation. The perpetrators of this sort of crime count on this and that is why they all too often get away with their illegal activities. BEC has always believed in being open and upfront and we will always continue to be so.”
Michael Pemberton concluded: “As a company we have had to deal with the fall out of this fraudulent activity in parallel with major changes in our operational activities. We are grateful that a swift resolution has been brought and we look forward to getting back to the task in hand – making BEC a sustainable and commercially robust company that brings benefit to the communities it serves.”