A KPMG director falsely claimed nearly £45,000 in expenses to feed a gambling habit, the Old Bailey heard today.
Management consultant Brian Chapman, from Cumbernauld, was struggling to maintain payments towards his mortgage and 12 credit cards at the time of the fraud, it is claimed.
Although he was earning a gross annual salary of more than £100,000, he was £90,000 in debt and lost an average of £330 a week through gambling.
Chapman allegedly double or even triple-claimed the same expenses, including flights, hotels and mobile phone bills.
His scam lasted for more than five years until KPMG’s risk and control team launched an investigation in 2012, the court heard.
Prosecutor Jane Osborne said: “Mr Chapman was a consultant working for KPMG at director level in their financial services sector. Travelling was frequently part of that role and he would legitimately incur substantial expenses which had to be claimed back.
“Those expenses were not quite as substantial as those that he claimed for and over the course of a five-year period there were almost £45,000 of expenses that he claimed that were not in fact owed to him.
“He did that deliberately, no doubt because at the time his personal financial circumstances were characterised by mounting and very substantial debt.
“What he was doing was quite simple. When an expense was incurred by him he would claim that expense but sometimes he would claim that same expense not once but twice and sometimes three times.
“KPMG has paid off the debt on the Amex card but also transferred money to Mr Chapman ensuring that he benefitted personally.
“If it was small sums of money perhaps it could have been done without noticing but on occasion it was thousands of pounds paid into his bank account.”
Chapman’s expenses were first investigated when he was identified as one of the company’s top 50 debtors to Vodafone, the court heard.
Although he had already claimed back some of the bills as expenses, the money had not been passed on to the phone company.
Chapman then put the whole amount on his corporate charge card, resulting in double claiming, jurors heard.
The case was passed to the City of London Police and it emerged that Chapman had 12 credit cards with a debt totalling £90,000 in October 2007, increasing to £94,000 in October 2011.
“He had also been running an online gambling account with Betfair, betting on a daily basis,” said Miss Osborne.
“He lost more than he won and his monthly loss averaged about £330.”
Chapman received a net salary of around £5,500 a month but virtually the whole amount was spent paying his mortgage, his gambling and the monthly credit card minimum payment, it is claimed.
Chapman, of Binniehill Road, Cumbernauld, denies a single count of fraud.
The trial continues.