An oil executive earning £120,000 a year who never went to university has been jailed after fabricating academic qualifications on his CV.
David Scott, 48, made up three degrees from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and Imperial College London to land a job and generous package.
He awarded himself a first-class honours degree in petroleum engineering and claimed to have written a renowned academic paper by an American professor with the same name.
On the basis of his impressive CV, he was hired as managing director of Mech-Tool, an engineering company in Darlington, Co Durham.
One of his main tasks was to oversee two new multimillion-pound contracts in Kazakhstan but within three months colleagues realised that he was incapable and began investigating his background. Marshall Garner, 66, the company’s founder, discovered that Scott was a fraud who had gone into engineering after joining the army at a junior rank. He had never held an executive post in his life.
Sentencing him to 12 months in prison at Teesside crown court yesterday, Judge Peter Armstrong told him: “This was not just claiming an extra GCSE or A level, this was fraud at the highest end of CV falsehood.”
Scott admitted one charge of fraud by false representation to a value of £54,564.09 between June and August last year.
Mech-Tool, a leading company in heat and blast protection in the oil and gas sector, paid Scott a basic salary of £120,000, a resettlement package, a £10,000 car allowance and bonuses.
The court heard that after Mech-Tool won the new contracts last year, an advert was placed for a full-time managing director. It stated that the perfect candidate would have a good engineering degree and business school qualification. Jenny Haigh, for the prosecution, said: “The defendant responded and sent in his CV. He appeared to fit the criteria due to his qualifications.”
Scott claimed to have a master’s in business administration from Heriot-Watt, a master of science in petroleum engineering from Imperial College and a bachelor of science in service science from Imperial.
The decisive factor, however, was the academic paper, which appeared to prove that Scott, of Stainton, Middlesbrough, was one of the finest engineering brains in the world. He claimed to have written Nonparametric Regression For Analysis Of Complex Surveys And Geographic Visualisation.
Mr Garner later discovered it was actually written by an American professor with the same name, Dr David W Scott, but with an impressive array of genuine qualifications.
The company’s efforts in Kazakhstan were disastrous. Staff had been following a strategic plan drawn up by Scott that the judge said revealed that he was quite clearly not up to the job.
“How you thought you were going to get away with this is difficult to imagine,” he said. “Fortunately for this company they became suspicious and made inquiries and discovered your fraudulent job application. Whether people have a tendency to lie on their CVs is not for this court to comment on, but where deliberate fraud is perpetrated the court has to follow the guidelines.”
Had the company not discovered the deceit promptly, it could have cost it the contracts worth millions, which in the event were paid late because of his blundering, the judge added. In a press release announcing Scott’s role at Mech-Tool in September 2016, he was described as a “seasoned executive”. After his appointment the fraudster said that his focus would be “on using my contacts to bolster business” in the Middle East and Commonwealth of Independent States.
The court heard that Scott was of previous good character. Simon Perkins, his lawyer, said that his client had trained as a surveyor and was able to use his GPS surveying knowledge to go into geo-surveying. He added that Scott was “very, very unlikely” to end up in court again.