Sep 6 2012 Hamilton Advertiser
A CONMAN who duped South Lanarkshire Council out of more than £100,000 has been jailed for three years.
Mangal Dhami (45) pocketed £102, 846 from the council after he duped staff into believing that he was authorised to change bank details for payments to building firms Maxi Construction Ltd and Barr Ltd between June and October 2010.
Mangal Singh Dhami had denied the charge - along with defrauding North Ayrshire Council of £270,829.
However, on the fifth day of a trial in Feburary at Hamilton Sheriff Court the jury found Dhami, of Wolverhampton, guilty of the offences by unanimous verdict.
A former South Lanarkshire finance assistant had told the court on the first day of the trial an email had been sent to the council with a change of bank account details for a firm called Maxi Construction.
A senior member of staff, she added, in keeping with procedure updated the details.
When Dhami himself took to the stand he explained he had set up two businesses: 24/7 Global Security and SS Enterprise GB Ltd.
The 24/7 Global Security firm provided security staff for pubs and nightclubs, and for construction sites.
Questioned by his advocate Mark Moir, Dhami explained while he was employed as an HGV driver he saw a gap in the market for security provision and set up 24/7 Global Security.
A bank account was set up with HSBC for the firm and customers would transfer cash into the account.
Dhami said that by June, 2010, 24/7 Global Security had been in business for six months.
SS Enterprise GB Ltd involved providing self-employed labourers to construction firms.
According to Dhami one of his clients was a Stewart Radway of South Lanarkshire Construction.
Mr Radway in turn would sub-contract the workers out to other builders, he said.
Dhami had met Mr Radway in a Wolverhampton pub by chance, and after striking up a conversation learned that he required workmen such as joiners and carpenters.
He said he provided Mr Radway with 35 to 40 workers who were usually from east European countries such as Poland or Lithuania.
Dhami claimed he supplied this labour to Mr Radway for about seven to eight months.
Money, he said, would be paid into SS Enterprise’s Royal Bank of Scotland bank account. He gave Mr Radway details of his bank account to pay in money for Dhami’s services.
During further questioning by his advocate, Dhami denied any knowledge of fraudulent activities against the councils.
Mr Moir referred to a payment which had gone into 24/7 Global Security’s bank account dated 22 June, 2010, for £102.846 from South Lanarkshire Council.
Dhami claimed he thought the payment had come from Mr Radway, adding that Radway also used security workers provided by him, as well as construction workers.
The advocate also pointed to letters to South Lanarkshire Council and North Ayrshire Council with details of two bank accounts which Dhami accepted were his. But the crook denied having written the letters or having prior knowledge of them.
Dhami is next due to appear for a Proceeds of Crime hearing on September 28 at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
A South Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “Following the fraud new procedures were put in place and we alerted other councils to be aware.
“South Lanarkshire Council is currently working with the Proceeds of Crime Unit to pursue the recovery of funds.”
BEHIND BARS:Mangal Dhami was sentenced to three years’ jail at Hamilton Sheriff Court.