U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office Charges Former Executives of G4S Subsidiary
09 Sep 2020

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office on Tuesday filed fraud charges against three former executives of a subsidiary of security-services company G4S PLC.

The former executives of G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd. made false representations to the U.K.’s Ministry of Justice in a multiyear scheme to defraud the agency, according to the SFO, the U.K.’s prosecuting agency for major economic crimes.

Richard Morris, the subsidiary’s former managing director; Mark Preston, a former commercial director of its electronic monitoring business; and James Jardine, a former finance manager and acting commercial director of the electronic monitoring business, were each charged with seven counts of fraud in connection with the false representations made between 2009 and 2012, the SFO said.

A lawyer for Mr. Morris disputed the SFO’s allegations. “He will robustly contest the charges and is confident he will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” the lawyer said in a statement. Attorneys for the other two defendants didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The charges come after G4S Care and Justice Services in July reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO to resolve allegations that it misled the Ministry of Justice about the profits the company derived from contracts with the agency for electronic monitoring services. The scheme was designed to prevent the ministry from attempting to decrease G4S Care and Justice Services’ revenues under the contracts, the SFO said. Under the agreement, the company agreed to pay a £38.5 million ($48.6 million) financial penalty and cover £5.9 million in costs incurred by the SFO.

The SFO launched an investigation into contracts to provide electronic monitoring of offenders by G4S and its competitor, Serco Group PLC, in 2013. A subsidiary of Serco last year reached its own deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO, under which it agreed to pay a £19.2 million penalty and £3.7 million in costs.

In a separate settlement in 2014, G4S agreed to compensate the Ministry of Justice for overcharging on the electronic monitoring contracts. It returned £121.3 million to the ministry, according to the SFO.

By Dylan Tokar, The Wall Street Journal, 8 September 2020

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