£140 payback order for crook who swindled £500,000

David Dinham was ordered to pay back £140

AN IT boss who swindled £500,000 from the National Library of Scotland (NLS) was today (tue) ordered to pay back – just £140.

The measly sum was sitting in David Dinham’s bank account and was the only cash found by police who investigated his financial affairs, a court heard.

Dinham has already repaid £112,000 but what happened to the remaining £390,000 of taxpayers’ money now seems certain to remain a mystery.

The 33-year-old from Edinburgh, who worked as Chief Information Officer at the NLS, was jailed for two years this summer for embezzling the cash.

A confiscation hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today heard that only a tiny fraction of the missing money had been found by police investigators.

Fiscal depute Karen Rollo told the court that a civil case against Dinham by the NLS had been concluded with £112,613 repaid.

She said: “This leaves approximately £390,000.

“However the Lothian and Borders Police have done an investigation into any assets remaining and found he has £140 remaining in an HSBC bank account.

“Quite rightly any moneys recovered should be returned to the complainer.”

Sheriff Frank Crowe agreed to take the money from Dinham.

He said: “There has been a civil action and the main bulk of the estate has gone back to the National Library. I will make a confiscation order of £140. That’s the end of these proceedings.”

The court had previously heard that Dinham awarded his own IT company library contracts worth more than £240,000 during a sophisticated scam.

And in fits of “mania”, the Australian splashed out another £260,000 on goods with a government credit card he was entrusted with by his employers.

It emerged Dinham, who was living in Edinburgh at the time, was in such a position of seniority that his dealings were left unchecked by library chiefs.

When he realised his spending was not being supervised, he persistently siphoned cash over a four year period without being noticed.

But as well as spending money on himself Dinham, who bragged to neighbours that he was a “missionary’, also helped others by using some of the cash to fund voluntary projects.

The Australian suffered depression because he was adopted and carried out the fraud in a bid to make himself happy, his defence said.

But fraud officers were called into investigate after his crime was discovered in September last year.

Unbeknown to library chiefs, Dinham was also the sole director of a company called Raith Solutions while he worked for them.

Concerns were raised by a member of staff that matters with regard to the accounts didn’t appear to be in order so an investigation was commenced.

It was then discovered Dinham had awarded himself a contract.

Library contracts of a certain value had to go out to tender, but this had not happened when it should have, the court had heard.

Dinham admitted carrying out the offence between September 6, 2006, and June 9, 2010, according to court papers.

An investigation found that Dinham had awarded himself a total of 10 contracts.

Dinham had never declared he was the sole director of this company or had any connection with it.

There were around £240,856 worth of invoices submitted by Raith Solutions to the NLS.

The remaining money came from his use of a government credit card.

He told police that some of the services contracted out to the firm were provided. But it would have been difficult for the library to establish just what was provided.

He also told officers that the credit card transactions were for personal purchases.

He made one purchase with his credit card – a fairly small item –  after which he realised there were no checks.

As well as spending money on going to Australia for the weekend, he spent money on voluntary projects, his defence agent Duncan Hughes said.

Dinham was born in Australia and was adopted shortly after birth.

He suffered feelings of depression and worthlessness and an inability to cope with the fact he had been adopted, the court had heard.

He was brought up in a very high achieving family and gained several degrees in accounting and information technology.