A road safety communications officer accused of defrauding West Midlands Police has denied receiving a £7,000 “backhander” from a businessman saying the payment was for “consultancy work”.
Adam Warwick, who worked for the Casualty Reduction Partnership (CRP), further told Warwick Crown Court that there was “no requirement” for him to declare that income to the Inland Revenue.
Warwick, (35) of Wishing Stone Way, Matlock, Derbyshire, and former West Midlands Police recruitment marketing manager David Vidgen, (36), of Over Brunton Close, Northfield, Birmingham, have pleaded not guilty to separate charges of conspiracy to defraud.
They are alleged to have conspired with businessman Richard Millard to defraud the West Midlands force in 2006.
It is said they approved payments of false invoices submitted by PortMedia UK Ltd, set up by Millard, which carried out work for the CRP and the recruitment department.
Millard, (42), of Grange Lane, Sutton Coldfield, who also worked as business development manager for Preston-based media adverting company ADI Ltd, has pleaded guilty to fraud.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood alleged they took advantage of weaknesses in West Midlands Police Authority’s financial system.
He said payments were made by Millard or PortMedia to the two men, with Vidgen receiving £3,000 and a company he had set up, David Vidgen Ltd, being paid £7,199; while Warwick had £2,063 paid into his account and £5,000 into his parents’ account.
Asked what had drawn him to the CRP job, Warwick said: “I had just finished a Master’s degree. One thing I wanted to do was go into marketing and to have a positive effect on other people.”
Asked why he had decided to leave at the end of 2006, when his salary had risen from £23,000 to £27,000, he said he wanted to get as much experience as he could in various fields.
He said the ‘model’ he had developed for CRP campaigns was in place, so the job had become ‘less interesting.’
Mr Heywood asked who had approached whom when Warwick entered into ‘a private relationship’ with a contractor with whom he had placed work on behalf of the CRP.
But Warwick said he could not answer that because it was a long time ago.
He said he carried out consultation work for Millard to provide information which would help him present targeted tenders for work with other CRPs including West Mercia.
But he said he did not consider that to be a conflict of interest because he was not employed by those other bodies.
Mr Heywood asked why, if it was all above board, he had kept the arrangement private, and he responded: “There was no need to make it public.”
Mr Heywood said Warwick had been paid around £7,000 by Millard, and asked if he had declared it to the Inland Revenue, but Warwick claimed: “There was no requirement to do so.”
Vidgen did not give evidence, but the jury has heard that in a police interview he said the money he received was payment for work he had done through his own company developing PortMedia’s website.
The case continues.