Fraudster must repay nearly £200,000

A FRAUDSTER jailed for four years after stealing almost £875,000 from his employers while leading a double life today faces repaying nearly £200,000.If Martin Willcox fails to return the compensation, he could face an extra three years in prison.

A FRAUDSTER jailed for four years after stealing almost £875,000 from his employers while leading a double life today faces repaying nearly £200,000.

If Martin Willcox fails to return the compensation, he could face an extra three years in prison.

Willcox, 48, was sent to prison in January after admitting systematically stealing almost £875,000 from Highway Insurance and AXA Insurance in Ipswich to fund a lavish playboy lifestyle.

The married father-of-three, of Phillips Crescent, Needham Market, spent the money on luxury holidays, expensive gifts and even breast enlargement surgery for his 22-year-old mistress.


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He admitted 15 offences of false accounting and 15 offences of deception, and asked for 158 other offences to be taken into consideration.

Ruling at a confiscation hearing yesterday at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge David Goodin ordered Willcox to pay £183,532.34 in compensation to the insurance companies, 21 per cent of the figure he stole.

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That means AXA Insurance will receive £161,113.70 and Highway Insurance £22,418.64.

Judge Goodin said: "This must be paid within 12 months and if for any reason it is impossible to do so then you must come back before the courts.

"I must warn you that failure to do this could result in an extra three years' imprisonment, which would run consecutive to your current sentence."

Willcox, who earned £34,000 a year, started stealing after he plunged up to £70,000 into debt, partly for paying private school fees for his dyslexic daughter.

At one stage he left his wife Marian after more than 20 years of marriage and set up home in a luxury rented flat in Churchman's House, next to Ipswich Town's Portman Road football ground.

But he continued to carry out the fraud to fund extravagant spending for himself, his family and girlfriend, splashing out on jewellery, designer clothes, expensive holidays and stays in five-star hotels.

Willcox pocketed the money after authorising payments to settle non-existent insurance claims made by bogus companies that he set up.

He first stole £106,279 from his employer Highway Insurance between January 2000 and June 2001 while he was a claims handler at the firm's office in Ipswich.

Willcox then used the same fraud to steal £764,348 between August 2001 and July last year while working as a senior negotiator in the corporate claims department of AXA insurance in Ipswich.

The firm only realised something was wrong on July 16 last year when the Royal Mail sent back an undelivered letter containing a cheque for £16,000, which it had made out to a firm called ECS with an address in St Albans.

The letter had a sticker on it redirecting it to Willcox at his flat in Churchman's House. A police investigation revealed that ECS did not exist and had been set up by him.

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