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ExRHS manager jailed for masterminding £700k scam to fund party lifestyle

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Elaine Summers outside court Shaheen Kadri He got Summers, 54, and Kadri, 44, to send him false invoices for cleaning work over a 10 year period which they did not do.Recorder Gopal Hooper told the trio who sat quietly in the dock during sentencing: “It (the scam) appears quite simple but it was quite sophisticated. It was done not by need by the three of you but by greed.”By the time the scam started you, Stuart Medhurst, were leading a lifestyle of champagne and nightclubs using money you did not have.” A former manager at the Royal Horticultural Society has been jailed for four years for masterminding a £700,000 scam against the charity.Operations manager Stuart Medhurst, 56, along with Elaine Summers and Shaheen Kadri acted out of “greed not need” in the sophisticated decade-long scam which was only discovered by accident.Faced with £100,000 of personal debt which was largely loaded on to credit cards Medhurst, who was in a trusted position after working for the RHS for 20 years, decided to plunder the charity’s funds to help pay for a luxury lifestyle, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard. The judge said that Summers, of Notting Hill, west London, had been “influenced” by Medhurst.She had been recruited into the scheme after working for Barclays and diamond company De Beers – where she organised functions.The judge said Medhurst, “no doubt encouraged by the ease” of the success of the scam, brought his long-time friend Kadri into the mix.The judge told Kadri, of Camden, north London: “You went in to this with your eyes wide open, clearly for greed because you were in gainful employment.”Obvious intelligence belies the claim the you did not know what was happening. I was not surprised when the jury convicted you.”The RHS, set up in 1804, lays on world-famous exhibitions every year including the Hampton Court Palace and Chelsea Flower Shows.The prosecution said false invoices were prepared by Summers and Kadri for cleaning work that was never done.These were made to match false purchase orders prepared and issued by Medhurst.He arranged for payments by RHS to be made to bank accounts held by Summers and Kadri. Medhurst, of Westminster, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to steal – for sums amounting to £360,850.51 with Summers and £317,110 with Kadri. He was sentenced to four years jail on each of these counts which are to be served concurrently.He was also sentenced to another year, to be served concurrently, after admitting a count of fraud in abusing his position at the RHS by withdrawing £43,895 for his own “personal use”. He spent this on a stash of luxury electrical goods.Summers and Kadri were each found guilty by a jury at the same court in July of one count of theft.Summers was sentenced to 18 months in jail while Kadri was sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment.The scam ran from January 2004 to January 2014 but fell apart in late 2013 when RHS officials spotted that cleaning work, which was being invoiced and paid for as part of the scam, was being done by another company.Medhurst spent more than £40,000 on a haul of high-priced electronics and household items including £10,244 on a Bang and Olufsen sound system, two Siemens Porsche designer kettles, a toaster, along with a high end steam iron, washing machine, dishwasher, digital camera, hair trimmer, fitness bicycle and microwave.Medhurst ensured the invoices were disguised “so that the exact nature of the items would not immediately become apparent”, according to prosecutor John Traversi.The judge added that Medhurst had ensured the electrical items were bought from a regular supplier to the RHS and appear like it might be used by the charity. Elaine Summers outside courtCredit:CENTRAL NEWS Shaheen KadriCredit:CENTRAL NEWSlast_img

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