A man who stole £900,000 from Birmingham City Council fled to the US to start a new life as a psychic medium. Tyler Evans channeled his ill-gotten gains into 10 bank accounts, including a business account with the name Called Paranormal Activities.
Evans’s job saw him handling refunds of deposits paid to contractors.
He joined the local authority in 2005, working in a number of departments before joining the council’s Highways Permit Team as a customer engagement officer five years later.
His role was to control the refund of payment bonds to contractors who carried out work on the city’s highways. The payment of bonds is a requirement for anyone who wants to carry out work on the highways as a security deposit for any damage they might cause during work.
Evans submitted 35 false forms to managers between 2010 and 2014 which saw payments authorized and transferred to the 10 bank accounts.
Money was sent to accounts in Evans’s name, the Called Paranormal Activities business account and those of associates as well as friends.
Evans was jailed for four years and eight months at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday (January 12).
Andrew Cant of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Evans fraudulently diverted money, which should have been spent on vital public services such as education, health and social care or the upkeep of the city’s roads, for his own personal financial gain.
“The CPS secured Evans’ extradition from the United States of America so that he can face justice for his dishonest actions. Our network of international prosecutors helps improve our ability to successfully bring people back to our courts.
“We will now pursue confiscation proceedings against him, aiming to recover the criminal property from which he has benefitted.”
Kevin Hicks, Assistant Director of Highways and Infrastructure at Birmingham City Council, said: “We would like to thank all those involved in working so hard to bring this case to court.
“When concerns were brought to the council’s attention in 2014 an audit investigation was instigated and subsequently the matter referred to West Midlands Police. Prior to the completion of the audit investigation, Mr Evans had been dismissed from the council for other reasons.
“Once the fraud was uncovered steps were immediately taken to change the council’s internal payment process to strengthen controls and mitigate the risk of this happening again.
“The council’s insurers covered the financial loss apart from an excess of £100,000. None of our contractors were affected during this process.
“It is appalling that someone could steal money that should have been spent on public services and we understand that confiscation proceedings will be pursued.”