Municipal employee gets three years for cheating Copenhagen out of millions of kroner

50-year-old city employee embezzled nearly 18 million kroner

A 50-year-old male employee of the city of Copenhagen since 1991 has been sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling 17.6 million kroner from the city over the past 14 years.

The man embezzled checks worth over 7 million kroner between 2001 and 2008, before moving onto computer fraud.

Police became suspicious and subsequent audits by the city brought the massive fraud to light.

The man has been charged with aggravated embezzlement and has confessed to fraudulently obtaining the millions.

The man told the court that when he needed two signatures, he hid the checks among bills to be signed and tricked colleagues into signing them.

Changing with the times
When payment methods in the city changed, the swindler was forced to change his methods. He confessed to 44 cases of computer fraud that placed 6.6 million kroner into his own bank accounts between 2008 and 2014.

Other charges include rigging currency exchanges so that he received millions in payouts and the possession of illegal weapons.

“It was an addiction. I was in a vicious spiral,” the man told the court. “I bought a car, jewellery, watches and travelled.”

READ MORE: Council employee steals 17 million kroner from Copenhageners

The swindler, whose salary was  just under 29,000 kroner per month, said his home cost him 9,000 kroner a month. He also said he lived frugally and travelled using charter companies.

When officers from the Copenhagen Police department for economic crime raided his home, they found over 5 million kroner in cash along with two Rolex watches, gold rings, gold necklaces, pearl jewellery, a Tissot watch and a Segway at the man’s residence – all of which they claim were purchased with taxpayers’ money.

They also found evidence he had been spending an extra 1 million kroner per year since 2001. “I don’t feel that I have been throwing money away,” the swindler said.

Trusted employee
“This was a trusted employee deeply involved in municipal bookkeeping with extensive knowledge of our systems and controls,” Kasper Schmidt, the head of Copenhagen’s corporate services, told Ekstra Bladet.

“This enabled him to organise fraud in such a way that made it difficult to detect.”