Company directors receive jail sentence for training fraud

Two company directors who claimed their organisation was offering training services have been sentenced to 21 months in jail for fraud.

They claimed more than £190,000 from training provider Learndirect between August 2011 and February 2013, through a company called Focus Four Limited.

The two directors, Frederick Wilson, 55, from Market Harborough and Philip Hyams, 55, from Hinckley created Focus Four Limited primarily to offer corporate training.

The company subsequently extended in learning programmes and courses to help people who were attempting to enhance their skill set to in order to find a job.

But both men were setting up ‘ghost’ learners on the computerised learndirect system and then claiming money for services they did not provide.

Wilson and Hyams were sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday 19th October to 21 months after they pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Detective Constable Simon Newcombe from the Economic Crime Unit, said:

“This was a complex investigation. A joint investigation with the Insolvency Services was launched after learndirect reported suspicious activity and removed all funding from Focus Four Limited.

The investigation revealed that details of bogus work-place learners were input on the learndirect system claiming that the learners had enrolled and completed learndirect programmes, which was not the case.

Tutors who worked for Focus Four were forced to pretend they were trainees and complete the training packages, which they did for fear of losing their jobs.

These men were only in it for financial gain and to fund their lavish lifestyles, they showed total disregard for their staff or the fact that they were falsely claiming money for services they never provided.

After a thorough investigation we are pleased that they have pleaded guilty to the offences and now face almost two years in prison.

We hope that this case sends a clear message to those who believe that they can obtain money fraudulently from public funds, you will be traced and prosecuted.”