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SFO charges former Serco directors with fraud

16 December, 2019 | Case Updates

The Serious Fraud Office has charged two individuals with fraud and false accounting in relation to its investigation into Serco’s electronic monitoring contract with the Ministry of Justice.

Nicholas Woods, former Finance Director of Serco Home Affairs, and Simon Marshall, former Operations Director of Field Services within Serco, have been charged with fraud by false representation and false accounting in relation to representations made to the Ministry of Justice between 2011 and 2013. Nicholas Woods is additionally charged with false accounting in relation to the 2011 statutory accounts of Serco Geografix Ltd.

This follows the SFO’s completion of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with Serco Group subsidiary Serco Geografix Ltd, which was approved by Mr Justice William Davis on 4th July 2019.

The investigation remains active and we are unable to comment further at this time.

Notes to editors:

  1. Simon Marshall and Nicholas Woods have been charged jointly with one count of fraud by false representation, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 and one count of  false accounting, contrary to section 17(1)a of the Theft Act 1968. Simon Marshall has additionally been charged with two counts of fraud by false representation, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 and Nick Woods has additionally been charged with one count of false accounting, contrary to section 17(1)a of the Theft Act 1968.
  2. The DPA with Serco Geografix Ltd (SGL) was agreed in principle on 3 July 2019 and given final approval by Mr Justice William Davis on 4 July 2019. More information can be found here.
  3. The full judgment of Mr Justice Davis can be found here and the DPA and Undertaking by Serco Group are published here. The Statement of Facts is subject to reporting restrictions and cannot yet be published.
  4. Under the terms of the DPA, SGL was ordered to pay a financial penalty of £19.2 million, and the full amount of the SFO’s investigative costs (£3.7m). This is in addition to the £12.8m compensation already paid by Serco to the MoJ as part of a £70m civil settlement in 2013. The DPA was also accompanied by an undertaking in which Serco Group, SGL’s parent company, agrees to ongoing cooperation with the SFO and other law enforcement and regulatory authorities, reporting evidence of fraud by itself or related companies and individuals, any necessary strengthening of its Group-wide Ethics and Compliance functions, and annual reporting on its Group-wide assurance programme.
  5. The SFO has applied to extend reporting restrictions relating to the DPA Statement of Facts and the naming of individuals involved in the DPA hearing. Please see the attached draft applications, to be decided by Justice William Davis on 17 December 2019.

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