Posted on: December 20, 2022, 02:38h. 

Final up to date on: December 20, 2022, 02:57h.

An ex-con who bilked the Church of England out of £5.2 million (US$6.3 million) couldn’t declare playing habit as a mitigating consider his crime.

Martin Sargeant, pictured exterior court docket. The previous church official spent huge sums of stolen cash on airfare and different luxuries. (Picture: Press Affiliation)
Prosecutors mentioned the primary driver of former church official Martin Sargeant’s offending was “greed” and the will to stay a luxurious life-style.

On Monday, a choose at London’s Southwark Crown Court docket sentenced Sargeant, 53, to 5 years in jail. That’s after the previous Operations Supervisor for the Diocese of London pleaded responsible to at least one rely of fraud by abuse of place between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2019.

The court docket heard that the Church had given Sargeant a “second likelihood” as a result of he had beforehand served a 21-month jail sentence for theft from an employer within the Nineteen Nineties. He claimed he disclosed his earlier conviction earlier than he was employed, which the Church has neither confirmed nor denied.
Habit No Protection
Sargeant drew a wage of £86,000 (US$104,000) per yr. He siphoned off further cash by creating false purposes for upkeep grants and dipped into funds acquired from massive metropolis developments close to church buildings to fund a millionaire’s life-style.
His lawyer, Mark Ruffell, mentioned Sargeant needed “those that have suffered due to him to know he’s genuinely sorry, and he accepts 100% what he has accomplished.”
“Underlying all that has gone on is his playing habit,” Ruffell claimed.

Playing habit isn’t an official mitigation throughout the British felony justice system. In sure circumstances, it may be thought-about as an element throughout sentencing if the defendant has dedicated to attending drawback playing counseling applications.

On this case, Sargeant’s claims didn’t fly. Whereas prosecutors accepted that Sargeant had a playing drawback, it didn’t feed his motivation to steal as a lot as “greed,” prosecutor Joey Kwong mentioned.
Lavish Life-style
“It’s clear that the funds had been lavished on his life-style,” mentioned Kwong. “By the tip of the fraud, he had belongings of greater than £450,000 throughout private financial institution accounts, in addition to proudly owning three properties in Scotland price roughly £1 million.
“He lavished cash on a number of journeys overseas and there was lavish spending when it comes to his life-style,” Kwong added.
Sargeant splurged on a complete of 158 flights through the interval of the fraud, taking journeys to New York, Miami, the Maldives, Venice, Barcelona, and Rome, amongst different locations.
He purchased six riverside log cabins, which he rented out as a enterprise. He invested $600K of the stolen cash. He additionally spent 1000’s of kilos on designer garments and blew greater than $30K at a five-star lodge in London’s Soho, in line with court docket paperwork.
In the meantime, most of the church buildings Sargeant was liable for had been unable to keep up their buildings because of the fraud, and a few have closed their doorways to the general public. Others had been “dysfunctional” and had no vicar, prosecutors mentioned.

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