Former Serco directors charged with fraud over electronic tagging of criminals

Company was previously fined £19.2m after being accused of charging the government to monitor criminals who were dead or in jail

GPS tracking anklet
GPS tracking anklet

Two former directors of the outsourcing giant Serco have been charged with fraud over a contract to monitor criminals wearing electronic tags.

Nicholas Woods, who was the finance director of Serco Home Affairs, and Simon Marshall, the company’s former operations director of field services, have been charged with fraud by false representation and false accounting.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said the allegations related to representations that were made to the Ministry of Justice between 2011 and 2013.

Serco was accused of charging the government for tracking people who were dead, in jail or no longer in Britain during the period.

Mr Woods is additionally charged with false accounting in relation to the 2011 statutory accounts of Serco Geografix Ltd, which allegedly overcharged the government for tagging criminals.

Mr Marshall faces two further counts of fraud by false representation.

The men were charged by postal requisition and will appear in court on a date to be fixed.

A solicitor representing Mr Woods said he denies the allegations and “looks forward to the opportunity of clearing his name”.

Andrew Katzen, of Hickman & Rose, added: “Mr Woods is very disappointed that the SFO has decided to charge him with criminal offences dating back to his work at Serco about 10 years ago.

“The SFO has spent six years investigating this matter and Mr Woods fully cooperated throughout.”

The prosecution follows a deferred prosecution agreement struck between the SFO and subsidiary Serco Geografix Ltd, which saw the firm ordered to pay a £19.2m fine and £3.7m in costs earlier this year.

The penalty was in addition to another £12.8m Serco previously paid the Ministry of Justice as part of a £70m civil settlement in 2013, when the company was stripped of its responsibility for tagging criminals.

Serco has agreed to ongoing cooperation with the SFO, regulators and police.

In January, the firm won its largest ever UK government contract – a £1.9bn deal to manage 5,000 properties occupied by asylum seekers who are waiting for their claims to be processed.

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