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Council pension fund swindler jailed for seven years

Westminster says it hopes to 'chase' the missing million in the courts

01 February, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Ian Woodall funnelled cash to Switzerland and back again  

PENSIONS fund swindler Ian Woodall has been jailed for seven years after plundering more than £1million from the city council.

Detectives are yet to recover any of the money stolen by the 47-year-old who was sentenced in Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

Woodall was found guilty of fraud and money laundering following a 10-day trial in October. Westminster Council said the fund was not insured and they were hoping to “chase” up the lost cash through the courts.

The crown court heard that Woodall funnelled the cash through Swiss bank accounts and then back to this country, where the money was distributed to both his personal and company bank accounts.

The money was then used to fund the purchase of his house and cars, and to support his lifestyle.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Bailey of the Met’s Fraud Squad said: “Woodall betrayed his col- leagues and employers by stealing their money to fund his own lifestyle and we are pleased he is now being made to pay for his criminal actions.”

Woodall, from Mickleham in Surrey, had held the appointment of interim chief investment officer for the city council and had effectively been employed in other roles since 2003.

He was employed as a contractor through his own firm, therefore not an employee of the council, but through contracts he had remained the council’s interim chief investment officer for several years.

In 2010 the council decided directly to employ a permanent pen- sion fund manager and, as a result, Woodall ceased working for the council that year.

Three years later an auditing accountancy firm was made aware of “significant discrepancies” within the staff pension fund.

An investigation found four suspicious transactions during 2010 including a transfer of £741,000.

The auditors interviewed Woodall and he was unable to provide any specific detail about the transactions.

The council then referred it to the police who found Woodall had abused his position.

Detective Sergeant Bailey added: “Work remains ongoing to recover the stolen money and we hope this sentence shows we are determined to find and punish those engaged in fraudulent activities.”

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