A claims handler working for AIG has been jailed for defrauding the insurer out of more than £390,000 to fund his drug addiction.

James Beaver, worked for AIG insurance as a complex claims case worker, but began defrauding the company after his cocaine addiction took hold, following the tragic death of his young son.

After taking some time off to mourn the loss of his son, Beaver’s cocaine habit began to spiral out of control and by the time he returned to work in 2016, he had developed a £500 a day substance addiction. The court heard how Beaver began to make a series of payments to his own bank account. Between 2016 and early 2018, Beaver made a total of 91 payments to his own bank account, totalling more than £345,000.

He was sacked in February 2018 for gross misconduct, despite this he continued to make three more payments to himself of more than £45,000. He even tried to enter the AIG offices in London using the name of a fellow worker. He did however, manage to persuade staff at another AIG office based in Croydon, that he was an employee to gain access to a computer where he made further fraudulent transactions. In total he stole £390,478.21 from the company.

After an investigation, Beaver was arrested in February this year and later pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, fraud by false representation and acquiring use of criminal property.

In court his defence told the court how the death of his young son and his cocaine addiction had led to the breakup of his marriage. It had also led to a £500 a day addiction and a debt to drug dealers. Jailing Beaver for two years, Judge Richard Foster said: “Your life fell apart – you had the tragedy of your son having a rare form of cancer and having to suffer the bereavement when he died. Every human being will have nothing but sympathy for that, but many people in life have bereavement, illness and tragedy, and none of these are a reason or an excuse for doing what you did over a sustained period of defrauding your employer who – your mitigation has said – were good to you during bad times.”

Employee Fraud costs UK £40 million a year

A report published last year by accountancy firm BDO stated that employee fraud cost UK businesses £40 million a year, and will continue to rise. The activity ranged from stealing cash and goods, making false expenses claims, money laundering and inventing false customers. According to the report, gambling, greed and debt are the main reasons employees commit fraud against their employers.

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