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Director jailed for fraud

A judge has jailed James Munroe, former operations director of Automotive Skills, for stealing £421,000 from his employer.

AM understands Automotive Skills has now reviewed its recruitment procedure, after it emerged that Munroe had previously been imprisoned for another fraud. He hadn't disclosed this to Automotive Skills when applying for the management role. Within two months of winning the job, he had begun stealing again.

Munroe started a four year prison term on February 14, after Middlesex Crown Court judge Roger Chapple told him: "Your naked greed is breathtaking."

Between May 2004 and April 2006 Munroe forged a director's signature on 43 company cheques totalling £420,364, to fund his own extravagant lifestyle.

He purchased a Porsche plus three other executive cars, and rented a £5,000 per month cottage in Berkshire.

Automotive Skills staff became suspicious of how he funded his activities on the £63,000pa salary.

One employee discovered a fraud profile on the internet, which detailed how Munroe had been given a five-year prison sentence in 2000 after he defrauded £2.8m while working at a Reading accountancy firm.

He was released on early licence nine months before joining Automotive Skills.

Munroe, who had skipped bail at one point in the prosecution, admitted one charge of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, three charges of obtaining services by deception, and two charges of theft.

He denied 16 further charges of theft, obtaining services by deception and obtaining property by deception. These were allowed to lie on file.

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