Ex-Norfolk policeman Ben Staff appeals fraud conviction
PUBLISHED: 11:38 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:38 17 July 2017
A former police officer who was jailed after carrying out a series of frauds across Norfolk’s building trade totalling £1m, has appealed against one of his convictions, it has emerged.
Ex-Norfolk PC Ben Staff was jailed at Norwich Crown Court in January after previously being found guilty in two trials of fraud-related offences between 2009 and 2014.
His frauds first came to light following an investigation by this newspaper in 2013.
The 35-year-old was said to have traded off the reputation of the police to gain the trust of victims and then used money intended for business accounts to fund his own lavish lifestyle.
Staff appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Monday (July 17) for an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
But the court heard Staff had put in an appeal against one of his convictions which had affected when a date for the full POCA hearing could be fixed.
David Wilson, prosecuting, said: “There is one complicating factor in that there’s been an appeal against the conviction that was subject to re-trial.”
He added: “We don’t have a date for that.”
Staff is appealing his conviction and sentence for fraud and converting criminal property which followed guilty verdicts in the second trial at the end of last year.
It heard a man called Alex Sexton gave Staff £140,000 to invest in a company called Morpheus Homes. Mr Sexton said Staff gained his trust when he built homes on land belonging to Mr Sexton on Waterloo Road in Hainford.
He said he gave Staff the £140,000 over several weeks to invest in Morpheus Homes in 2012 and had never seen a return of the investment.
The Court of Appeal confirmed Staff had put in an appeal against conviction and sentence although there was, as yet, no date for the case to be heard.
Judge Anthony Bate fixed the next POCA hearing for January 2 at King’s Lynn Crown Court.
Staff, who appeared via videolink from HMP Peterborough and wore a red polo shirt, was told he would be produced for the hearing which will be in front of Judge Mark Dennis.
Judge Dennis presided over both trials involving Staff.
Following the first trial at King’s Lynn Crown Court Staff, formerly of Lucas Court, Thorpe St Andrew, was convicted of two counts of fraud, two counts of false accounting, one count of converting criminal property and one count of fraudulent trading in relation to businesses including Mr Trades Ltd, SES East Anglia and Morpheus Homes.
In the second trial at Norwich Crown Court, Staff was found guilty of fraud and converting criminal property.
His victims included suppliers and contractors in Norfolk’s building trade, a business partner, as well as the Inland Revenue.
His wife, Catriona, 33, was charged in both trials but cleared on all counts.
She was a serving Norfolk Police officer during the case and faced internal disciplinary procedures after being suspended from duty in 2014 pending the outcome of legal proceedings.