A convicted criminal who stole over £441,000 from his former employers has been ordered to pay back over £225,000 under a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) Confiscation Order.
Viraj Patel, 34, of Worcester Park pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position after putting fictitious invoices through the banking system of the company where he was finance manager to channel company funds into his own account. His crime was discovered once Patel had left the organisation.
Patel was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment earlier this year at Guildford Crown Court. Surrey Police financial investigator Steve Hayes was then able to step in and initiate the process of linking his assets to his crime, and going to court to confiscate those assets.
The force restrained his bank accounts, one of which alone had £149,000 in it.
Cash, watches and a gold bar were also seized, all of which were sold. Surrey Police worked with Patel’s family to sell his top of the range BMW car.
This was in addition to detailed work carried out by our financial investigator as part of the investigation itself, working alongside the officer in charge of the case PC Joanna Whitehorn, including analysis of Patel’s bank accounts to map how he had hidden – and spent much of - the money. Faced with this, Patel fully admitted the charge during an interview with PC Whitehorn.
The £225,000 has now been paid to the victims, Patel’s former employers, as compensation.
Detective Inspector Matthew Durkin, Head of Surrey Police's Economic Crime Unit, said:
"We were able to understand Patel’s financial activity in such great detail that there was no way he was going to get away with any of the money from his crime. He was living a life that was way beyond his means and I’m pleased to say his days of splashing other people’s cash as a result of abusing the trust of his employer are finished.
“More importantly though, the confiscation order means that we have been able to compensate his victim, his former company.”