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Jailed: Hornchurch gambling addict who funnelled £2.9million into his own accounts using fictional contractor payments

PUBLISHED: 09:39 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:46 06 August 2019

Ben Wiley, aged 29, of Harrow Close, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, August 5, after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position and money laundering. Picture: City of London Police

Ben Wiley, aged 29, of Harrow Close, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, August 5, after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position and money laundering. Picture: City of London Police

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A Hornchurch man has been jailed for three years and eight months after stealing £2.9million from his employer to fund his gambling habit and a life of fast cars and football season tickets.

Ben Wiley, aged 29, of Harrow Close, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, August 5, after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position and money laundering at the same court on June 4.

He had stolen £2.9m from his employer by processing hundreds of payments into his bank accounts for fictional contractor work and was caught by the City of London Police's Fraud Squad.

The Fraud Squad initially became aware of Wiley's fraudulent activity through a referral from his employer, a mechanical and public health contractor.

They'd arranged a meeting with him to discuss their suspicions and during the meeting Wiley admitted to stealing from them.

He was subsequently dismissed and it was at this point that the company contacted the City of London Police.

The Fraud Squad discovered that between June 2013 and October 2016, Wiley made 385 payments into accounts he owned or controlled, totalling £2,939,514.

Det Insp Suzanne Ferris, of the City of London Police's Economic Crime Directorate, said: "Wiley was systematic in the way he committed fraud.

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"He stole increasing amounts of money to fuel his gambling addiction and live a lavish lifestyle well beyond his means.

"He showed no signs of stopping and, in all likelihood, he would have continued to defraud his employer, had it not been for the referral to the City of London Police, and the subsequent investigation by our Fraud Squad, which exposed his fraudulent activity."

Wiley worked as an accountant and used the names of genuine contractors on the company's records to disguise the payments into his account.

The payments were for work he claimed was carried out by these contractors, but it was all fictional.

The money stolen by Wiley was mainly used to fuel his gambling addiction, but it also enabled him to live well beyond his means.

Evidence gathered during the investigation showed that he used his ill-gotten gains to help purchase a house, pay for his wedding and fund numerous holidays.

He also bought a number of high-value items, such as luxury cars, watches, jewellery and football season tickets.

In order to launder the money he'd stolen, Wiley also paid money into accounts belonging to members of his family.

They were unaware of the true origin of the money and believed that it was a result of his success in gambling, which he often told them about.

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