Finance boss stole £800,000 to fund ‘extravagant’ lifestyle

Graham Jackson
Graham Jackson

A former finance manager “seriously betrayed” the trust of a students’ union by stealing more than £800,000 to fund an “extravagant” lifestyle.

Graham Jackson, 59, used the money he stole from Hull University Union Ltd, a registered charity, to pay for expensive holidays, the weddings of his two daughters - and giving his wife £200-a-day spending money.

His actions cost the jobs of 11 members of staff - including himself - and others to lose their bonuses.

Jackson, who worked for the Students’ Union for 15 years, was sentenced to five years in jail, after pleading guilty to five counts of theft, nine counts of fraud and three counts of false accounting.

Hull Crown Court heard that Jackson raised invoices for “supplies” but the money - £802,000 over a 12-year period - went into his personal savings accounts.

Jackson, of Newbegin, Hornsea, now faces a Proceeds of Crime hearing to see if any of the money can be recouped.

His wife was interviewed as part of the investigation, but no charges were bought against her.

She said her husband told her he had been promoted and was earning more money.

In a joint statement Hull University Union President, Matthew Evans and Chief Executive, Jackie Berry said the fraud was discovered after Jackson left in August 2015 and reported to police. There were now “additional control measures” in place to prevent a similar fraud.

They added: “The impact of this fraud is substantial, real and lasting for the organisation. As a charity our funds support the services, activities and guidance that we provide to all students studying at the University of Hull.

“The amount of money we have lost is considerable and would have made a significant difference to the life of students.

“Graham Jackson was trusted to look after our money and he seriously betrayed that trust.

“As well as the financial impact on our members this fraud has also had a profoundly negative effect on our dedicated and hardworking team who deliver exceptional support and representation to students.

“Once we discovered the fraud we conducted a thorough internal investigation and have already taken steps to ensure that our internal financial procedures are much more robust.

“We are now working to recover as much of the money as possible.”

Although police secured the proceeds of a house Jackson was selling on Constable Road, Hornsea in 2015, for £249,000, they said today a lot of the money cannot be recovered as it has been “extravagantly spent.”

Senior Financial Investigator Lorraine Baines appealed for help from the public in identifying Jackson’s hidden assets.

She said: “Graham Jackson stole a huge amount of money from his employer, Hull University Union Ltd, the Student Union, which is a registered charity supporting young people’s education.

“Over a sustained period of time he took more than £800,000, causing eleven employees – including himself - to lose their jobs and other employees to lose their bonuses.

“The people who gained were Jackson and his wife, as he funded their extravagant lifestyle.

“From the outset of the investigation the force attached a financial investigator, Gary Rowlinson, to the criminal investigation. “He will endeavour to recoup as much money as possible - even though a lot has been extravagantly spent and cannot be recovered, such as the two weddings he paid for his two daughters.

“The proceeds of the sale of his house have been restrained and we are looking for any other assets held by Jackson, including his pensions.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.