Former Ofcom IT Chief Jailed For Fraud

Ofcom’s ex-IT services chief has been jailed for defrauding the organisation out of more than £500,000

The former IT services chief for communications regulator Ofcom has been jailed for two and a half years, after being convicted of defrauding the organisation of more than half a million pounds.

Jurgen Whitehouse, who had previously pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court in May, was sentenced on 7 June, according to a post on the Metropolitan Police website. He admitted to abusing his senior position in IT to defraud Ofcom of £522,123 between July 2008 and April 2009.

“This was a premeditated and calculated fraud on a public body which was conducted over a prolonged period,” said investigating officer detective constable Elliott Toms. “He exploited his expert knowledge of systems in place at Ofcom in order to steal in excess of half a million pounds.

“This sentence will hopefully serve as a deterrent to others who are similarly tempted to abuse their positions of responsibility,” he added.

Ofcom not to blame

Ofcom responded to the news, explaining that Whitehouse was dismissed in 2009, and the majority of the funds have already been returned. The regulator expects to recover the full amount.

“Our financial controls are robust, appropriate and proportionate. The fraud was as a consequence of the abuse of position by a particular employee rather than as a consequence of a weakness in Ofcom’s processes,” it said in a statement.

A survey by security firm Imperva last year revealed that seventy percent of employees plan to steal secret information when leaving their job. The most sought-after data is intellecual property, followed by customer records, according to the survey of 1,026 Londoners.

Meanwhile, a new generation of social media savvy employees is reportedly putting businesses at risk, displaying a blasé attitude to corporate intellectual property flowing out of the organisation and being stored on public servers.

The study by email management firm Mimecast found the average employee sends around three emails a week containing corporate IP and potentially sensitive information outside of their corporate environment.