Trio admits £70m Royal Mail fraud

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The directors of three companies have pleaded guilty of defrauding Royal Mail of at least £70m through a complex postal scheme that lasted over a decade.

Between May 2008 and May 2017, thousands of items were under-declared through the manipulation of postage docket spreadsheets, which were then sent through a network of logistics companies in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

More than £70m was stolen from Royal Mail as a result of ‘untrue and misleading’ declarations about the quantity, weight, class and destination of mailings.

Appearing at Southwark Crown Court this week, the directors of Tiger International Logistics, Worldwide Transport Express and Global Express Worldwide each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud just a week into the trial and the jury was relieved of their services.

The fraud was masterminded by Narinder Sandhu, owner of Packpost International Ltd and ‘architect’ of the fraud.

His brother Parmjeet Sandhu of Slough, who was director of Tiger International and Worldwide Express, pleaded guilty to obtaining services dishonestly after being involved in the scheme.

Parmjeet’s nephew, Balginder Sandhu, and associate Lakhwinder Sekhon were however found not guilty of taking part in the conspiracy.

Narinder Sandhu lived in a multi-million-pound mansion and had a Bentley, a Rolls-Royce and a pool house. His declared taxable income was £1m per year towards the end of the period that the fraud was running.

Ellis Sareen, prosecuting, told the court how Parmjeet was ‘integral’ to the fraud, but not rewarded as generously compared to his brother. But he still ‘made a lot of money’ out of the fraud.

In the 2014/15 tax year, Parmjeet declared an income of £495,000 per annum to HMRC. He also owned property worth around £2.6m as of December 2020, with equity of around £1.3m, largely funded by the companies involved in the fraud.

Sareen said: ‘It is important not to fall into the trap of thinking that because the loss to Royal Mail was more than £70m, there must be a sum this large stashed away somewhere.

‘Some of the gain obtained by defrauding Royal Mail and other postal operators was passed on to customers with lower prices.’

The trio ‘exploited and manipulated’ a self-declaration system used by large postage firms and in some cases paid half of what they should have for the mail posted.

Thousands of items were under-declared from 2008 and lasting until 2017 when Royal Mail investigators discovered discrepancies.

Parmjeet Sandhu has been released on conditional bail ahead of sentencing for all of the offences, due to be heard at the same court in October.

For information on dealing with misconduct at work, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Do I have to postpone a disciplinary hearing if the employee raises a grievance during it?

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