/ University employee jailed for embezzlement

James Cleary

James Cleary

A University of Manchester employee who embezzled more than £30,000 has been jailed.

James Cleary (born 06/12/1972), of Melmerby Court, Salford, plead guilty to fraud at an earlier hearing and today, 10 January 2013, he was jailed for 20 months at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square.

Cleary worked for the University of Manchester between May 1996 and August 2010, and held a number of positions.

At the time he left, he was a Research Business Manager for the School of Cancer and Enabling Sciences and was authorised to sign claims for fees.

In March 2011, months after he left, the department were struggling to pay a claim for fees because of a lack of funds in their account. Further investigation revealed that 25 separate claims had been authorised by Cleary over a three-and-a-half year period.

The total paid out was £30,025, and the claim forms were completed under the bogus name 'Michelle Roberts'. Enquiries later revealed that the bank account and sort code numbers on the claim forms matched those belonging to Cleary.

Detective Constable Dom Brady said: "Cleary was employed in a position of trust by the University, and was given a lot of responsibility to process claims for reasonably large amounts of money.
Sadly, he completely abused the trust the University placed in him and defrauded them to the tune of £31,984.

"He admitted during interview he had a drug and alcohol addiction that he needed to fund, and freely volunteered he spent some of the embezzled cash on Blackberry mobile phones and computer.

"However, he did express remorse and I am sure now that he has been jailed he is even more sorry for his actions.

"I would like to praise the staff at the University who have worked very closely with us during this investigation and cooperated fully, which has led to this conviction. I hope this also sends out a message that you should think very carefully before attempting to rip-off your employers as you could be facing a stint behind bars."

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