May 19 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Residents in Enfield, north London, are facing cuts in services after a former finance chief was jailed for four years for cheating them out of £500,000.
John Jossa also took £171,000 from the London Borough of Enfield in a severance and retirement package before his fraud was discovered, the Old Bailey heard.
Jossa, 58, of Welling, south-east London, continues to take a pension from the council which has only been able to recover “a drop in the ocean” of the money.
Only about £25,000 had been found because Jossa was himself a victim of fraud after being placed on a “suckers list” for boiler room scammers.
Judge Nicholas Cooke told Jossa: “You have taken £500,000 from the funds of a hard-pressed local authority.
“After you had done that, you accepted a further £171,000.
“The vast majority of that money has now gone. The prospect of further recovery on behalf of residents is bleak.”
Jossa had worked for Enfield since 1987 and retired in January last year as the £64,000 head of finance development and support handling the budget for suppliers.
He pleaded guilty to three charges involving 104 fraudulent transfers which went into a savings account over three years.
Gavin Ludlow-Thompson, QC, prosecuting, told the court: “This was a highly sophisticated fraud.”
Jossa “might never have been detected” if his name had not come up in police investigations for a boiler room fraud.
The night before he left the council’s employment, Jossa was seen wiping computer records of his transactions.
Enfield Council had taken civil action to recover money and Jossa had been made bankrupt.
Some £200,000 had gone on high-risk investments which had mostly turned into scams.
The remainder, including the pay-off, was unaccounted for and may have gone on holidays and other spending.
Avtar Bhatoa, defending, said: “This is a man whose functioning in some form or other has been impaired.
“He threw it all away into these scams.”