William Eichler 28 January 2019

Council worker jailed for £1m pension fund theft

A man who defrauded the pension fund of Westminster City Council of over £1m has been jailed for seven years.

Ian Robert Woodall, 47, of Mickleham, Surrey, was found guilty of fraud and money laundering last October following a ten-day trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Mr Woodall was employed as a contractor through his own firm Lonkal Consulting Limited, but through various contracts he held the appointment of Interim Chief Investment Officer (ICIO) for Westminster CC.

In 2010, he ceased working for the council when they decided to directly employ a permanent pension fund manager.

Three years later, an accountancy firm which had audit responsibilities for Westminster CC found that approximately £1m had been unlawfully removed from the fund between January 2009 and December 2012.

A subsequent investigation by the Metropolitan Police revealed that Mr Woodall had diverted the pension funds through Swiss bank accounts and then back into the UK, where the £1m was then distributed to his personal and company bank accounts.

He was sentenced to seven years in jail last Friday.

‘Woodall betrayed his colleagues and employers by stealing their money to fund his own lifestyle and we are pleased he is now being made to pay for his criminal actions,’ said detective sergeant Andrew Bailey of the Met’s Fraud Squad.

‘Work remains ongoing to recover the stolen money and we hope this sentence shows we are determined to find and punish those engaged in fraudulent activities.’

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