Fraudster jailed after stealing £200k from employer Blaze Signs to fund ‘high life’

Cullen was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court for his fraud

A fraudster who stole from his employer Blaze Signs in Thanet to pay for extravagant goods has been jailed for over four years.

Benjamin Cullen, from Herne Bay, abused his position as the IT director of the business, to authorise purchases using the company’s money to live a lavish lifestyle, to the sum of more than £200,000.

Suspicions arose in 2020 when Cullen submitted an invoice to the accounts department for a 50-inch 4k smart television. When questioned, Cullen tried to claim it had been bought for the boardroom, but the television could not be found on the business premises and an old television was still in place.

An internal investigation was carried out, resulting in the discovery of £202,000 worth of losses and Cullen’s dismissal.

An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate identified four parts to Cullen’s fraud which he had carried out between 2018 and 2020: he submitted invoices totalling £117,234 to the company for payment to two businesses which the company had never used. It was found that both of these businesses were linked to Cullen.

Statements of the company’s credit card showed 15 transactions, totalling £291,54, which were paid to an unnamed mobile number, later confirmed to belong to Cullen.

Finally, the investigation found that Cullen had made 527 transactions on an online shopping app, worth £55,940. His purchases included a swimming pool, jewellery, a gaming chair, computer games, a gazebo and a pair of topiary trees.

Cullen of Peartree Road, Herne Bay pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by abuse of position.

The 43-year-old was sentenced to four years and nine months when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday 27 July 2022.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Newman said: “Benjamin Cullen carried out the fraud over a sustained period and it was a gross abuse of trust against a company who had given him the opportunity to work.

“His greed and desire to live the high life ultimately caught up with him and he has been forced to face up to his actions.”

5 Comments

  1. He was on 37k a year.

    The numbers are all a mess in both reports I’ve read but I assume in total the amount “missing” is 202k so he is about 50k up when you factor in lose of four years are 37k but also factor in that he was sacked in 2020 im guessing and now was working at a school (which shows the reference system in this country is a fail) at 25k a year…. I’d say this all shows that in fact crime doesn’t pay.

    Surely he was better off taking the 37k a year and let’s be honest IT director at a company like this would have been a doss. Especially when you see how much freedom he clearly had.

    Greed is a funny old business.

  2. Ons sincerely hopes that total recovery of full sum stolen plus interest is actioned under the recovery criminal proceeds act is instigated and the courts dismiss any glowing references.
    These acts of theft were pre meditated and skilfully planned.

    • To be fair reading the details on another article they weren’t that skilfully planned – it sounds more like a poorly ran company and a opportunist that got carried away.

      The money won’t be there, sounds like it was spent on a hot tub and bits and pieces for around the house, these lose value instantly.

      The punishment is the four years in jail. He is not a master criminal with a network of good worth millions.

  3. Agree with comments above – an idiot and a chancer, hardly a menace to society so 4 years in jail is ludicrous. When he comes out he’ll likely be a broken man, a much better criminal or both.

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