Town business manager jailed for £60k Covid grant fraud

A town centre manager who kept £60,000 worth of Covid grants for himself during the pandemic has been jailed.

Christopher Andoh-Wilson, employed by Letchworth Garden City Business Improvement District (BID), was jailed for 20 months at St Albans Crown Court.

He was given a suspended sentence last December, but it was later found he had provided fake references from a mayor of Luton and a work colleague.

The judge was not aware the mayor was Andoh-Wilson's mother.

The reference from his mother had been written in 2021 but he had altered the date to 2023.

The 32-year-old had pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud by false representation and one of acquiring criminal property.

He had also previously been sentenced to 31 months in July 2021 for smuggling drugs and a sim card to a prisoner while working on security at Luton Crown Court.

On Thursday Judge Bilal Siddique told Andoh-Wilson he had "deliberately sought to pull wool over the court's eyes".

Christopher Andoh-Wilson
Judge Bilal Siddique told Andoh-Wilson at St Albans Crown Court that he had "deliberately sought to pull wool over the court's eyes"

He had been working at the Letchworth Garden City BID between April 2019 and July 2021.

While there Andoh-Wilson made three applications for Covid grants, including one for Letchworth BID.

He told the organisations the money had been refused and kept it himself.

He also pocketed two amounts of £100 for licences that had been paid to him and the total fraud was about £60,000.

'Pull the wool over the court's eyes'

Jailing him, the judge said: "When I first sentenced you, you indicated you were apologetic and I took account of all the references."This is strong evidence you had not rehabilitated. Your remorse was far from genuine. You deliberately sought to pull the wool over the court's eyes."

Richard Harbon, Letchworth Garden City BID manager, said: "Mr Andoh-Wilson abused the trust of businesses in Letchworth town centre at one of the most challenging periods in the town's history."

Hertfordshire County Council's Shared Anti-Fraud Service is working with the courts to recover the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Leader of North Herts Council, Elizabeth Dennis said: "The resentencing of Mr Andoh-Wilson highlights how he continues to abuse his position and take advantage of the trust placed in him by our community."

A proceeds of crime hearing will take place at a later date.

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