Three former executives of a division of outsourcing firm G4S have been charged with multiple offences in relation to a multi-year scheme to defraud the Ministry of Justice.
Richard Morris, former managing director of G4S Care and Justice Services and two ex-directors of its electric monitoring – Mark Preston and James Jardine – appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.
All three men were charged with seven counts of fraud in connection to false representations made to the MoJ between 2009 and 2012, the SFO said today. They will appear at Southwark Crown Court on 6 October.
Morris’ lawyer Ross Dixon, a partner at Hickman & Rose said: “Mr Morris refutes these allegations in the strongest possible terms. He will robustly contest the charges and is confident he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
The charges come two months after the SFO fined G4S £44m as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with G4S Care and Justice for overcharging the Ministry of Justice for the electronic tagging of offenders.
G4S Care and Justice is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the outsourcing firm which offers services including prison management and contact tracing.
Former justice minister Chris Grayling asked the SFO to investigate G4S and outsourcing firm Serco in 2013, aftr a review found they had overcharged for tracking offenders who had moved abroad, returned to prison or died.
G4S agreed to compensate the MoJ a year later but remained under investigation by the SFO until the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) this summer.
The DPA only relates to the potential criminal liability of G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Limited and does not address whether liability of any sort attaches to any employee, agent, former employee or former agent of G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Limited.
The firm agreed to enforce new controls, which include a programme of “corporate renewal”.
At the time group chief executive Ashley Almanza said: “We have apologised to the UK Government and implemented significant changes to people, policies, practices and controls, designed to ensure that our culture is underpinned by high ethical standards and that our business is always conducted in a manner which is consistent with our values.”