Lincs: Academies’ chief executive faces fraud charges

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The chief executive of a flagship Lincolnshire group of academy schools defrauded the organisation out of thousands of pounds, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Richard Gilliland, who was paid more than £200,000 a year as chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies, is alleged to have been assisted by the federation’s finance director Stephen Davies in concealing what was happening at the organisation.

David Allan, prosecuting, told the court the academy paid for equestrian training courses for Gilliland’s son Kia Richardson which were not the responsibility of the federation.

Gilliland is also alleged to have used his federation credit card to purchase hundreds of items for his personal use off Amazon, including a six-person spa pool, a gazebo, three DVD players, an Apple iPad 2, a Kindle, an Apple iPod classic and video games, as well as a motorbike security chain and what was described as “compression wear”.

Mr Allan said “Gilliland was the chief executive. It seems he believed he was the Priory Federation of Academies and that the PFA’s money was his.

“ Mr Gilliland wasn’t the PFA. He was just an employee, albeit an important and powerful employee.

“He was virtually able to negotiate his own salary and benefit package. As a result, he became absolutely reckless as to what expenses were his.

“He added his PFA credit card details to his account with Amazon.

“Mr Gilliland was using his PFA credit card to make huge numbers of purchases of items for his own benefit and, perhaps, the benefit of his own family. He was issued with a PFA credit card to make purchases for work purposes.”

After Mr Richardson resigned his post, Gilliland then repaid money to the federation for personal purchases.

Mr Allan told the jury Davies, a former maths teacher who had no accountancy qualifications, connived with Gilliland to allow illicit payments to be made.

Gilliland, aged 64, who now lives in Spain, denies six charges of fraud by abuse of position on dates between October 2008 and November 2011.

Davies ,58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues.