A man who embezzled over £200,000 from his charity employer to fund his online gambling habit has been jailed following an investigation by CID detectives.
Manjinder Virdi, 37 (18.10.84) of Rathmore Road SE7, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, 14 February to three years’ imprisonment having pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006.
During the hearing, the court heard how Virdi had been assessed as having a gambling and depressive disorder which had contributed to his actions.
Virdi joined the charity, based in Poplar, in May 2015. He was appointed as a financial administrator and later promoted to finance officer.
His role involved various financial and accountancy functions, allowing him access to the company bank and PayPal accounts.
On Monday, 20 May 2019 another member of staff at the charity received an email from their bank about potentially fraudulent activity in their accounts.
As the finance officer, the email was forwarded to Virdi and he was asked to look into it. He claimed that he had spoken to the bank and that it was a scam email which should be ignored.
A day later the same colleague asked Virdi again to check that the email was a scam. He replied that he had spoken to the bank and been informed there had been some fraudulent activity, but that the bank were going to contact him directly with the details.
However, unknown to Virdi, the charity’s Vice President had become suspicious and contacted the bank and was now aware that a number of payments had been made into Virdi’s accounts.
Police were called on 22 May and attended the company building, where they found Virdi sat at his desk.
He was arrested and taken to an east London police station for questioning before being released under investigation.
Detectives established that Virdi had siphoned over £200,000 into his own personal bank accounts in several transactions over a period of 20 months. Thousands of pounds in deposits had been made to online gambling websites.
There is an ongoing investigation into asset seizure in an attempt to recover some of the stolen funds.
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.”