NEWS: UK agency boss faces extradition for US trial

A former UK agency boss facing extradition over an alleged swindle involving almost dollars 1 million of US taxpayers’ money confessed to being ‘guilty on all counts’ when confronted with the charges, a court was told this week.

A former UK agency boss facing extradition over an alleged swindle

involving almost dollars 1 million of US taxpayers’ money confessed to

being ‘guilty on all counts’ when confronted with the charges, a court

was told this week.



Sue Goddard is said to have blamed ‘greed’ and ‘the need to make more’

as the reason for defrauding her US Government-backed client, the

American Soybean Association.



The ex-chief of the former Goddard Niklas Delaney DeRoos was appearing

at Bow Street court after a two-year investigation of the agency by

detectives from Scotland Yard’s organised crime group and special agents

of the US Department of Agriculture in Washington.



A US grand jury has issued a warrant for Goddard’s arrest on 26 charges

of false accounting, furnishing false accounts and obtaining property by

deception between September 1988 and August 1990.



This week a Bow Street stipendiary magistrate was hearing an application

by the US Justice Department for Goddard’s extradition.



Paul Garlick, representing the US Government, named George Niklas, the

agency’s creative director, as the ‘whistle blower’ on the alleged

fraud.



At a meeting in October 1990 with Thomas Bennan, the association’s

marketing director for Western Europe, Niklas handed over four sets of

invoices, Garlick said.



One, from the National Magazine Company, was for booklets to be inserted

in Good Housekeeping. The invoice submitted from the company via the

agency to the association was for pounds 8,500. But documents produced

by Niklas showed the real cost to have been pounds 5,750.



On returning to the association’s headquarters, Brennan initiated an

investigation. Seven weeks later he told Goddard of the discrepancies

and asked to see the original invoices. Goddard replied that she was

‘guilty on all counts’, Garlick added.



Antonia Williamson, a former secretary at the agency, told the court

that she was asked several times by Goddard to blank out figures on

supplier invoices. Goddard was later seen typing new figures on to the

invoices which were photocopied. Williamson claimed she left the agency

because she ‘felt uncomfortable with its business practices’.



Alan Phillips, the former chairman of Phillips Russell, which bought and

planned the association’s UK media, said that he was asked to check

invoices supplied to the association by the agency on his company’s

behalf. He found they were false and the figures on them had been

inflated.



According to Martin Wilding, a former Goddard Niklas director, Goddard’s

explanation for altering invoices was that the agency’s contract with

the association prevented it claiming its full 15 per cent commission,

and that the difference had to be built into the suppliers’ invoices.



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