IT expert posed as university staff in ‘sophisticated scam’ to pay debtors

�24,240 worth of equipment being was to Leeds Trinity University, where Andrew Griffin was waiting
�24,240 worth of equipment being was to Leeds Trinity University, where Andrew Griffin was waiting
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A ‘DETERMINED’ fraudster made off with thousands of pounds worth of computers by telling companies that he was ordering them for respected colleges and universities.

By the time he was arrested in West Yorkshire in August, Andrew Griffin had received £186,000 of IT equipment through his sophisticated scam.

Leeds Crown Court heard that when Griffin began his computer con in 2014 he was already a wanted man, having failed to turn up at court on another fraud charge when a four-year sentence was imposed in his absence.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said that while on the run Griffin used his IT expertise to pose as an employee of various institutions to order computer equipment on account. He would arrange delivery to an address where he would be waiting.

In June last year he booked a room at Somerset College for a meeting and told the receptionist he was expecting a £6,000 delivery of computer equipment. When it turned up he disappeared with it.

He arranged a £21,655 delivery of equipment to Taunton Library in similar circumstances, and more than £38,000 of equipment to educational institutions in Bridgewater and Bristol.

Miss Pearson told the court that in August this year Griffin set up a website purporting to be the Schools Partnership Trust to begin placing orders for delivery in West Yorkshire. On August 17 that led to £24,240 worth of equipment being delivered to Leeds Trinity University where he was waiting. Nine days later £7,438 worth of equipment was delivered to the University of Leeds, but when Griffin used that university again for another delivery on August 26 police were waiting and arrested the conman.

Marcus Waite, representing him, said Griffin once owned a successful computer company but it suffered in the economic downturn in 2008.

In desperation he submitted false invoices and was jailed for 16 months in 2009. On his release, his home was repossessed and he ended up borrowing from someone he had met in prison, resulting in a £100,000 debt. He was then put under pressure to use his IT skills to commit fraud for the people he owed money to.

Griffin, 46, formerly of Longroyd View, Leeds, admitted three charges of fraud and failing to surrender to bail. Jailing him for three-and-a-half years to run consecutively to his current sentence, Judge James Spencer described him as a “determined fraudster”.