Jailed: Man embezzled £200k from Poplar charity

Manjinder Virdi, 37, of Rathmore Road, Charlton was jailed for three years

Manjinder Virdi, 37, of Rathmore Road, Charlton was jailed for three years for stealing around £200,000 from his Poplar charity employer - Credit: Met Police

A man who embezzled more than £200,000 from a Poplar charity to fund his online gambling habit has been jailed.

Manjinder Virdi, 37, of Rathmore Road, Charlton was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday - February 14 - to three years in jail, having pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

During the hearing, the court heard how Virdi had been assessed as having a gambling and depressive disorder, which had contributed to his actions.

Det Con Gavin Markey, of the Met’s Central East command unit, said: "Virdi was entrusted to manage and protect the company's finances and he completely abused his position and the confidence placed in him, almost as if he expected to get away with it."

Virdi joined the charity as a financial administrator in May 2015 and was later promoted to finance officer, which allowed him access to the company bank and PayPal accounts.

On May 20, 2019, another member of staff at the charity received an email from their bank about potentially fraudulent activity in their accounts. 

The email was forwarded to Virdi - as the finance officer - and he was asked to look into it.

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He claimed he had spoken to the bank and that it was a scam email, which should be ignored.

A day later, the same person asked Virdi again to check that the email was a scam.

Virdi said he’d been informed that there had been some fraudulent activity, but that the bank was going to contact him directly with the details.

However, unbeknown to Virdi, the charity's vice president had become suspicious so contacted the bank and had become aware that a number of payments had been made into Virdi's accounts.

Detectives established Virdi had siphoned more than £200,000 into his own personal bank accounts over a period of 20 months.

This included stealing just over £85,000 from October to November 2018 and around £53,000 from February to May 2019.

Thousands of pounds in deposits had been made to gambling websites.

Det Con Markey said: “Virdi tried to play his colleagues for fools when they were initially contacted by the bank but they knew something was not adding up and their suspicions were confirmed.”

Police say an investigation into asset seizure in an attempt to recover some of the stolen funds is ongoing.