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Finance boss stole £2.4m from university over 30-year period

David Hall, 64, used his position as head of accounts at the University of Brighton to embezzle money.

David Hall used his position as head of accounts at the University of Brighton, East Sussex, to embezzle money. (SWNS)
David Hall used his position as head of accounts at the University of Brighton to embezzle money.(SWNS)

A university employee who stole £2.4 million over 30 years from his job and blew the money on “fine dining and holidays” has been jailed.

David Hall used his position as head of accounts at the University of Brighton, East Sussex, to embezzle money over three decades and covered his tracks through fraudulent entries.

Jailing the 64-year-old, a judge branded the scale of his fraudulent activity as “breath-taking”.

His Honour Judge Roger Chapple sentenced Hall to six years in prison at Hove Crown Court after a joint investigation by police and financial investigators.

Hove , United Kingdom - July 3 , 2016 The Hove Trial Centre's Entrance
David Hall was jailed at Hove Crown Court in East Sussex. (Getty)

Hall, of Ringmer, East Sussex, had previously admitted to charges of fraud by abuse of position, theft by an employee and false accounting.

The court heard Hall abused his position as the university head of income and payments and covered up his activities through fraudulent entries in the university's accounts.

The matter was reported to Sussex police in November of 2021 after staff at the university uncovered the fraudulent activity.

The university commissioned an independent financial investigation, which, alongside the police investigation, uncovered a complex string of financial cover-ups.

Hall told the court his fraud began as a way of covering his personal debts.

However, Judge Chapple told Hall his actions had been motivated by greed.

He told him: "The scale and breadth of your dishonesty over 30 years is breath-taking.

"It was systematic, persistent dishonesty causing stress, heartache and pressure on other employees.

“Where did it go? On holidays and fine dining.”

Hall was jailed for six years for his offences - a reduced sentence due to him pleading guilty to his offences at the earliest opportunity.

A confiscation order is also due to be determined focused on Hall’s illicitly gained funds, though the money stolen is unlikely to be fully recovered.

Rose Horan, an investigator for Sussex Police, said after the sentencing hearing: "The university's impact statement categorised the damage done, including its impact on fellow staff.