AN INSURANCE claims specialist was jailed for three years and four months for stealing nearly £300,000.
Kevin Macey, 50, slowly siphoned £279,661.70 into the bank account of Deborah Starkings – keeping each payment under £5,000 to avoid an automatic audit.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard he may have been in a relationship with Starkings, 57, whom he met when she put in a genuine claim to Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) in 2012.
The scam lasted for four years and consisted of 83 separate payments – each of them fraudulent claims.
Starkings, of Copnor Road, Copnor, would then take half the money and deposit that amount into Macey’s bank account.
Macey, who denied being in a relationship with Starkings, was only caught when he took voluntary redundancy from the RSA and a new member of staff discovered anomalies in his work.
RSA spent £40,000 investigating the fraud before calling in police.
Macey, of Dumas Drive, Whitely, admitted fraud by abuse of position and possessing criminal property, and was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment.
Starkings admitted theft and transfer of criminal property, and was handed a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years as well as 20 days of rehabilitation activities with probation.
She will also be under an curfew with a tag for three months from 7pm to 7am. The court heard at the time of the offences, Starkings’ parents were both dying and she became addicted to alcohol.
Sentencing, Judge Linda Sullivan QC said: ‘You were both involved in a substantial fraud from RSA insurance company.
‘You, Macey, were a claims specialist dealing with insurance claims, authorised to make payments.
‘Starkings made a genuine claim in 2012 on her policy.
‘A relationship after that may have developed and you both agreed fraudulent claims would be made in RSA, and it would be put into your bank account.
‘Starkings and you would put half the amount in the Macey’s account so each of you had proceeds of this fraud.’
She added: ‘This was not a sophisticated fraud.’
Addressing Macey, judge Sullivan said: ‘I take into account you are remorseful, but you were not remorseful until you were found out when you became voluntarily redundant and the people taking over noticed discrepancies.
‘Over £40,000 was spent [by RSA] investigating these discrepancies and I can understand that was a difficult task to work out which claims you dealt with were honest and which were not.’
She said: ‘I accept on behalf of Starkings it was Macey’s idea and she went along with you.
‘You [Macey] are more to blame for this, you were in a position of trust but you both carried out this scam for four years with significant planning.’