The following is taken directly from The British Transport Police.
Company MD must pay back £1.9m following fraud conviction
A company managing director has been ordered to pay back £1.9m following a confiscation hearing at Woolwich Crown Court.
Peter Sale, 51, of Forest Drive, Tadworth, Surrey and MD of Sale Service & Maintenance Ltd, pleaded guilty to fraud and corruption in April last year. He was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to do 400 hours unpaid work and pay costs. Now, he must pay back £1.9m within six months or face six years in prison.
The order, made at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday, 28 February, is the culmination of a three-and-a-half year investigation by BTP’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU).
“This was part of a complex corruption investigation involving six suspects and we were greatly helped by Network Rail’s own internal investigators,” explained ECU Detective Constable Justin Yorke.
“This type of offence by-passes the procurement system and has a negative impact on legitimate companies. Hopefully, the high value of this order will act as a deterrent to others.”
In January 2006, Anthony Burgess, a personal friend of Peter Sale, became the Corporate Offices Manager at Network Rail. Within a short period, Peter Sale’s company was used on a large number of Network Rail projects, resulting in personal gain.
Peter Sale also paid Anthony Burgess over £6,700 via a company account, fitted a de-humidifier in his garage and provided him with bathroom accessories and hotel accommodation. In return, Anthony Burgess disclosed confidential information during a tendering process.
The two were also suspected of committing fraud by false representation. In August 2007, Peter Sale submitted a duplicate invoice to Network Rail, the original having already been paid. There followed an email exchange during which Anthony Burgess suggested the proceeds would be used to buy Peter Sale a Porsche. An email featuring an advertisement for a Porsche 911 valued at £50,995 sent by Anthony Burgess said: “Just thinking of you.”
The investigation established that Peter Sale had indeed bought the Porsche. He was arrested in October 2008 and a search of his home found a number of documents, relating to the duplicate invoice and Porsche, hidden inside a freezer.
The confiscation order was for £1,918,562.44. It may be appealed.
A series of trials finished in December 2011 with two convictions out of the five people charged – Peter Sale and Anthony Whittington. In August 2011, Anthony Whittington, a director of building consultancy firm WWP Consultants Limited, was convicted by a jury of corruption by providing a Network Rail employee with trips to New York, Monaco and Rome and a cheque for £7,500 as an inducement to show favour to his business. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
In April 2011, Peter Sale pleaded guilty to offences of corruption and fraud. He received the following sentence:
For corruption – 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years
For fraud – Six months’ imprisonment suspended for two years
A total of 400 hours unpaid work
Costs of £7,798