A chartered accountant with Big Four accounting firm Deloitte, who billed bosses for over £90,000 in phantom Uber taxi journeys during a three-year expenses scam, has been spared jail, reports Accountancy Daily.
Gurgyan Singh Kaley claimed he gambled away £1m online in five years while employed at the audit firm’s HQ in London.
But the London School of Economics graduate of Gerrards Cross was spared an immediate prison sentence. Instead a judge at Inner London Crown Court imposed a two-year suspended jail sentence on him.
Kaley pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position, namely submitting fraudulent taxi and professional subscription expenses totalling £95,540.
‘You started on a good salary as a graduate and began 39 months of fraud by submitting false and fraudulent claims for expenses, mostly taxi rides,’ Judge Benedict Kelleher said.
‘I accept you had become addicted to online gambling and you failed to make a profit and ran up considerable debts.
‘You were becoming increasingly desperate and this pair of offences will inevitably damage or destroy your prospects of working as an accountant.’
Prosecutor Peter Lancaster told Inner London Crown Court Kaley was employed as a consultant in the real estate tax team at Deloitte. He initially joined the graduate training scheme on a salary of £54,000, plus £5,000 in benefits after leaving a bond trading position.
He worked at the firm from May 2015 until September 2018, when his employment was ended when auditors in India spotted the suspicious expenses claims.
He had made approximately one thousand claims for taxi journeys, including 328, totalling £28,693 in the last seven weeks before his arrest last September.
‘There was no real checking or authorising,’ said Lancaster, explaining that Deloitte relies on the honesty of their employees regarding expenses claims.
‘They were paid out, they rely on the trustfulness of their employees and they were paid weekly into his bank account.
‘All the claims were fraudulent, the receipts were altered or fraudulent.’
The nine false claims for professional subscriptions totalled £4,404.
Kaley, who lives with his parents, has vowed to use his £65,000 pension fund to repay the bulk of the money.
His lawyer Evan Cranfield told the court: ‘I think it is inevitable he is going to be barred from practicing in his profession. He deeply regrets his actions.
‘It was essentially an act of desperation. He had a serious addiction to gambling.
‘He ceased all gambling on the day of his arrest. His family were oblivious as to what was going on behind the scenes.
‘He managed the tax affairs of corporate clients up to one billion pounds. A high degree of pressure.’
Kaley was also ordered to complete 300 hours of community service work and 10 days of rehab.
He must also pay £75,000 to Deloitte within 12 months or serve 21 months’ imprisonment.
A Deloitte spokesperson said: ‘We note the outcome of the hearing and are satisfied with the final decision. Deloitte has a zero tolerance approach to fraud and we expect all our people to adhere to our strict guidelines of conduct. Anyone found to have acted in bad faith will, of course, face immediate and appropriate action.’