Sin Bin: Museum of Scotland worker fraudulently acquired and resold £14k worth stamps

SinBinAn employee at the National Museum of Scotland ordered over £14,000 worth of stamps before selling them online and keeping the profits.

Joseph McGuire, 46, was found in 2013 after Royal Mail’s criminal intelligence saw the stamps being sold on eBay.

He pleaded guilty to fraud at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Aidan Higgins, fiscal depute told Sheriff Fiona Reith QC that the evidence that Mr McGuire was involved in acquiring large quantities of stamps from Royal Mail for the museum was clear and said they were “far in excess of the postage requirements of the National Museum.”

After search warrants were granted a sheet of 100 first-class stamps were discovered in Mr McGuire’s locker – as well as invoices.

When police searched his home they found £11,625 in cash in addition to 2,769 first-class stamps, with a value of £1,661.

Mr Higgins explained that the accused had made bulk orders on a monthly basis and used a franking machine which authorised payment.

The value of the stamps sold on the auction website was £12,797 in total.

Jonathan Campbell, defending, told the court that his client was undercutting Royal Mail.

He said: “He was enticing people to buy them because they were cheaper than if they bought them from the Royal Mail or a post office.

“Using the franking machine, he was able to pay the Royal Mail at the expense of the National Museum.

“The only organisation losing out was the National Museum.”

He admitted there was no good reason for why Mr McGuire had started his illegal scheme.

However, he said that his client, along with other employees, had been involved in a disciplinary case at the museum over postings on social media and that he had been handed a final warning in January 2011.

The defence solicitor also noted the money had not been used to fund a lavish lifestyle and that Mr McGuire “was almost relieved when the offence was discovered”.

A spokesman for National Museums Scotland said: “When this matter came to light he was suspended pending an investigation and was subsequently dismissed.

“We note the guilty plea made and will seek recovery of funds lost. We have since introduced new checks and procedures to ensure that this cannot be repeated.”

Sentencing of Mr McGuire was deferred until next month.

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