Training contracts fraudsters told to pay £140,000

Fraudsters have been ordered to pay a further £140,000 following a scam that involved awarding contracts in return for bribes.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) secured convictions against Paul Kent and Silinder Singh Sidhu in 2010 for awarding contracts worth over £1.3m to training providers and receiving more than £467,000 in corrupt payments when they worked at Shropshire Learning and Skills Council (SLSC).

The pair used this money to fund lavish lifestyles, buying expensive cars, watches and taking luxurious holidays at taxpayers’ expense.

Kent got a job with SLSC in 2003 with a fraudulent CV and recruited Sidhu to his fraud a year later. As a director Kent would solicit bribes for the award of contracts. Sidhu, once an employee of SLSC, later became a services provider through his company SLK Marketing Ltd. In this capacity, he received over £266,000 from the SLSC and paid Kent just over £80,000 in corrupt payments. 

Kent was jailed for four-and-a-half years in 2010 and paid £3,240 in confiscation. Sidhu received a three-year jail sentence and paid £31,500 in confiscation.

However, the SFO has identified a further £140,000 of assets that the pair have been ordered to pay.

SLSC was established in 2001 to improve the skills of young people and adults not in university education by planning and funding education and training.

Under Section 22 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the SFO has the power to continue investigations into the assets of criminals after their conviction, and to increase the amount seized when it identifies additional assets.

SFO director Lisa Osofskyof said: “These men defrauded the UK taxpayer and undermined the integrity of a programme designed to improve the life prospects of young people and adults from across Shropshire.

“We do not allow such criminals to enjoy the benefits of their crimes, and are pleased to have recovered their assets for the public purse.”

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