A former boss at Scottish Borders Council has been jailed for a year for siphoning cash from another local authority in a scam that lasted three years.
Tom Leighton, pictured, admitted embezzling morethan £27,000 of public money and trying to steal another £16,000 while he was Falkirk Council’s head of leisure services.
The 48-year-old from Selkirk was Falkirk’s leisure chief from 2004 to 2009. His £62,000-a-year job meant he was authorised to make payments to third-party contractors working at the Big in Falkirk pop concert.
And between 2006-2009 he took advantage of this by making out cheques to friends and family members who then transferred the money back to him.
The shamed civil servant appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday for sentencing after admitting the theft last month.
At the earlier hearing, the court heard the scam was uncovered by his boss, Maureen Campbell, who became suspicious over a £4,000 payment to a Mrs Gardiner who lived in the Borders.
She contacted Mrs Gardiner who turned out to be Leighton’s mother-in-law. An investigation was carried out and the full extent of the fraud uncovered.
In addition to the £27,152 stolen, the council worker also attempted to embezzle £16,000 by authorising payments to which he was not entitled.
Defending, Iain Burke told the court that Leighton, of Rosebank Drive, had already suffered due to the conviction, losing his wife, having no contact with his children and being forced out of his new job at Horsham District Council.
Mr Burke said that Leighton had paid back some of the cash with the rest being taken from his pension with Falkirk Council. He blamed his mental health difficulties for acting out of character.
He added: “Since this was uncovered four years ago, he has been living in limbo. He has isolated himself from family and friends, and has no prospects for a future career. He has paid significantly for his crime.”
Prior to taking up his post at Falkirk in 2002, Leighton was head of sport and recreation in the Borders.