Stratford man jailed for Newham College loans fraud

Newham College has campuses in East Ham and Stratford

Newham College has campuses in East Ham and Stratford - Credit: Archant

A Newham College employee who used a colleague’s account to con £117,000 out of the Student Loans Company has been jailed for two years.

Southwark Crown Court heard this morning how Nathan Simmons, of Meath Road, Stratford, landed an admin job at the college through his girlfriend’s mother, an examinations officer.

The 30-year-old, who has a string of criminal convictions, then hacked into another staff member’s account and signed off a number of fake loan applications.

The company paid out £117,416.58, but further loans worth £209,571.42 were blocked.

Simon Sandford, prosecuting, said that the fraud came to light when “investigations by the Student Loans Company revealed 44 students had been paid student loans on the basis they had enrolled at Newham College when in fact they hadn’t.”

Simmons, who admitted eight counts of fraud, recruited Leon Marshalleck, 29, and Peter Couzens, 30, into the scam on the promise they could keep a cut of the loan.

They each received £6,159 into their bank accounts as a result of the scam, pocketing at least £1,000.

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Judge Andrew Goymer said that the mother of Simmons’ girlfriend was “wholly innocent” of the scheme.

He said: “He [Simmons] had himself been in prison so it looked like a very good opportunity for an ex-offender to better himself and turn his back on crime and that indeed is what he should have done.

“Unfortunately he chose to let her down badly by going back to crime at the very place where he worked.”

Marshalleck, of Woodville Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey, and Couzens, of Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, both admitted fraud and converting criminal property.

Both were ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Marshalleck also received a six month suspended sentence, while Couzens was told to pay £1,000 in compensation.