Fraud and false accounting charges levelled at former Serco directors by SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) 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. Woods is additionally charged with false accounting in relation to the 2011 statutory accounts of Serco Geografix Ltd.

Specifically, Marshall and 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. Marshall has additionally been charged with two counts of fraud by false representation contrary to Section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. As stated, Woods has also been charged with one count of false accounting contrary to Section 17(1)a of the Theft Act 1968.

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

Under the terms of the DPA, Serco Geografix Ltd was ordered to pay a financial penalty of £19.2 million and the full amount of the SFO’s investigative costs (ie £3.7 million). This is in addition to the £12.8 million compensation already paid by Serco to the Ministry of Justice as part of a £70 million civil settlement in 2013.

The DPA was also accompanied by an undertaking in which Serco Group, Serco Geografix Ltd’s parent company, agrees to ongoing co-operation 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.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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