UPDATED: Consultant who faked payments to peers and defrauded the Police Federation banned from being a company director
Christopher McEvoy, 47, was handed a suspended 14-month prison sentence on 2 February 2024, and disqualified from being the director of any company for two years.
Sarah Place, a Specialist Fraud Prosecutor, said:
“Christopher McEvoy treated company money as his own piggy bank to dip into whenever he liked. We estimate that the Police Federation lost at least £42,000 as a result of his offending. At the CPS’s request the court disqualified him from being a company director for two-years so he won’t now be able to form or run any company.”
A consultant who lied about payments he made to four members of the House of Lords on behalf of the Police Federation, as part of a larger fraud, has today been convicted of defrauding the police association of a part of the £250,000 they gave him.
Christopher McEvoy, 47, claimed he had paid peers £77,000 for expenses and advice they provided to the Constables’ Advisory Panel between 2014 and 2015. But an examination of bank statements revealed that McEvoy had only transferred £36,000 to their accounts.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court heard that the advisory panel was set up in January 2014 by the Constables’ Central Committee, which is part of the Police Federation. The Panel’s role was to advise its parent Committee on reforms and improvements to policing. Its membership included a cross-party group of peers. The committee hired McEvoy’s company and gave it £250,000 upfront to support the work of the panel.
How much of that amount he put to personal use will be determined at his sentencing.
Sarah Place, Specialist Prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service, said:
“Christopher McEvoy was trusted with £250,000 to provide services he had promised to deliver but chose instead to defraud his client.
“Although some of the money was legitimately spent, he also inflated his expenditure to pocket the difference, moved money to his personal account to pay off recurring overdrafts, and moved money into betting accounts. Despite being repeatedly asked he has never provided all his invoices or VAT receipts.
“Christopher McEvoy is a dishonest man and the jury saw through his claims and convicted him.”
Thornhill Public Affairs Limited was hired by the Constables’ Central Committee in February 2014 to help the advisory panel with its work. Thornhill would provide secretarial support, Parliamentary monitoring, liaison, and lobbying, media liaison, and general public affairs services over three years. By the end of May that year, the committee had transferred £250,000 to Thornhill’s bank account which the directors were to use to pay Thornhill and to cover any expenditure incurred by the advisory panel.
Within weeks McEvoy, from Islington in north London, had transferred the money to a second Thornhill account and from there he further transferred some money to his personal account. As a director, McEvoy was always in charge of the money. But after May 2015, by which time the other directors had left, he was the only person in charge. There was no suggestion of wrongdoing by the other directors.
The prosecution said there was a general pattern in the movement of money between accounts. When his personal account was overdrawn, transfers would be made in from the Thornhill account to top it up.
Suspicion grew in February 2016 when the Constables’ Central Committee asked for a full breakdown of how the £250,000 had been spent and McEvoy provided a spreadsheet but no invoices or receipts as proof of spending.
His spreadsheet claimed to show a total spend of £241,047.38 related to the work of the advisory panel for the two years between January 2014 to December 2015. But not a single VAT invoice was provided to prove VAT had been charged and paid on the amount.
The Police Federation terminated their contract with Thornhill in April 2016 and later reported the matter to the police.
Thornhill Public Affairs Limited was the subject of a winding-up order in the High Court in November 2016.
Notes to editors
The trial began on 27 November 2023 at Southwark Crown Court with the jury retiring to consider their verdict on 13 December. They returned guilty verdicts on both counts on 14 December.
Christopher McEvoy (DOB 3/2/1976) was convicted on two counts:
- Fraud by abuse of position, contrary to Sections 1 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006; and
- False accounting, contrary to Section 17(1)(b) of the Theft Act 1968. This relates to the spreadsheet he provided supposedly showing how McEvoy had legitimately spent the money.
Sarah Place is a specialist prosecutor in the CPS’s Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate.