Aberdeen City Council worker pleads guilty to embezzling more than £1million from local authority

An Aberdeen City Council employee has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than £1 million from the local authority.

Michael Paterson, 59, exploited his position as a Council Tax and Recovery Team Leader to steal the huge sum over the course of 17 years, from November 2006 until September 2023.

An investigation was launched in 2023 when officers were made aware and he was arrested on December 21, 2023.

Paterson admitted his crime at the High Court in Edinburgh today and is set to be sentenced in early July.

The court heard how he spent his ill-gotten gains on Apple goods, foreign holidays and eating out.

He had started stealing cash to pay off debts but had continued to take the money for a no-expense-spared lifestyle.

The court heard how he was still in debt at the time of his arrest.

Detective Constable Tom Cameron said: “Paterson portrayed himself as an honest and professional individual and instead used his position to obtain a significant amount of money.

“I hope this investigation highlights our commitment to fully investigate all reports of financial crime.

“Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of a financial crime, or has information about such offences, is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101. If you wish to do this anonymously, you can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: "The council notes the conclusion of today's court case involving its former employee.

“We are in the process of checking our records and will be directly contacting anyone impacted with a view to reinstating Council Tax credit due – there is no requirement to contact us.

“The council apologises to any resident affected. The council’s financial controls and processes – including Council Tax refund arrangements – have been reviewed and strengthened." 

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