Four on trial for £180,000 fraud at Portsmouth shipping firm

BUSY A forklift truck at MMD at Portsmouth International Port
BUSY A forklift truck at MMD at Portsmouth International Port
Louis Makai. Picture: Sussex Police

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A HUSBAND and wife are on trial for a huge fraud from a fruit shipping company owned by Portsmouth City Council.

Richard Anderson is alleged to have defrauded MMD out of more than £180,000 over three years while transport manager at the firm, based at Flathouse Quay, Portsmouth.

The 30-year-old, of Ellisfield Road, Leigh Park, is on trial for two counts of fraud by creating fake invoices which were paid to two other haulier firms, Alpha, owned by Stuart Griffiths and SGL, owned by John Grant.

He denies the charges.

Anderson’s 34-year-old wife, Mollie, stands accused of funnelling ‘kick-backs’ through her bank account.

Prosecutor Tim Bradbury said: ‘In his capacity as transport manager he (Anderson) was responsible for arranging transportation of produce – fresh fruit – imported from abroad and distributed by lorry throughout the UK.

‘MMD had its own fleet of lorries. However, the company also relied to a certain degree on private hauliers.

‘In short, the allegation is that during the period between February 2008 to August 2011, Mr Anderson caused documents and records to be produced, and purchase orders raised, for deliveries that had been subcontracted to SJL and Alpha.

‘In fact, no such deliveries had been made by them.

‘SJL and Alpha would then raise invoices and bill MMD.’

Alpha received payments of more than £125,000 for jobs that were never actually carried out.

The amount received by SJL was in the region of £50,000.

In police interviews Anderson claimed he authorised the payments to cover instances when private hauliers were booked and then cancelled at the last minute – as a goodwill gesture.

Mr Bradbury said Anderson and his wife told police payments that went through their bank accounts were for ‘consulting work’ – which the prosecution disputes.

Mr Bradbury added: ‘He seemed to be in some doubt whether or not there was any paperwork. It may seem a little bit surprising he was so vague, particularly considering it was in the region of £20,000 per year.’

Griffiths, 41, of Church Road, Shedfield, denies fraud.

Grant, 44, of The Broadway, Sheerness, also denies fraud.

Mollie Anderson denies two counts of acquiring criminal property.

The trial continues.