Crooked Finsbury Park warden jailed for �43k theft

A CROOKED car park attendant who fleeced his employers out of �43,000 in a year has been jailed for 15 months.

Johnny Koffie, 39, of Kilpeck House, Woodberry Down, Finsbury Park, simply pocketed cash from meters at the parking area in London’s exclusive Park Lane, before cooking the books to fool his superiors.

He also supplemented his income from theft by selling six month parking permits to individual customers at knockdown prices for cash in hand.

Koffie, who fled to Britain as a refugee from war torn Liberia, was jailed for 15 months at Southwark Crown Court today after he admitted theft and fraud.

Judge John Price told him: “I have no need to emphasise to you how serious this is, and I can see how upset and saddened you are by what you have done.

“I have as much sympathy as I can have with someone who is of good character and pleaded guilty at the earliest available opportunity.

“Against that, you were in charge here, and there was a high degree of trust in you.”

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Gavin Ludlow-Thompson, prosecuting, told the court that Koffie was employed by car park operator VINCI at their Park Lane facility in Mayfair from around 2005.

For the first four years of his employment, he worked under a supervisor, but from the start of 2009, he was effectively placed in sole charge of the car park.

Over the next 12 months, he sold �39,000 of takings from the firm, and sold season tickets to four customers for a total of �3,900 in cash.

He covered his tracks by altering his monthly reports to his bosses, making it look as though there had been fewer cash payments than there really had.

The thefts were only spotted when VINCI realised that season tickets had been issued without approval from head office, and investigated Koffie.

Eleazar Anyene, defending Koffie, said resentment at being paid just �12,000 to �13,000 a year had partly lain behind his client’s offending, adding that he had been asked to recruit and train staff who were subsequently paid higher wages than he was.

He said that the defendant had struggled to support his wife and four-year-old son, and that the family was living in shared accommodation.

Mr Anyene also told the court that Koffie was deeply ashamed of what he had done and couldn’t understand “how on earth” he had succumbed to temptation and committed these offences.

Koffie admitted one count of theft and four of fraud by abuse of position.