Museum worker jailed for £14k eBay stamp scam

Joseph McGuire worked at the National Museum Of Scotland, Chambers Street.  Picture:  Toby Williams.
Joseph McGuire worked at the National Museum Of Scotland, Chambers Street. Picture: Toby Williams.
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A NATIONAL Museum worker, who ordered £14,000 worth of stamps fraudulently for his employer and sold them on eBay, has been jailed for 12 months.

Joseph McGuire, 46, of the Pleasance, Edinburgh, had pleaded guilty previously to obtaining the stamps valued at £14,458 between January 1, 2011 and August 1, 2013.

Sheriff Fiona Reith QC told McGuire: “This was really a quite sophisticated scheme devised by you, apparently after having felt unfairly treated by your employers following disciplinary proceedings.”

Calculating McGuire had carried out the stamp fraud “month after month,” for around two-and-a-half years, Ms Reith said.

McGuire had been in a position of trust as a messenger at the National Museum of Scotland and the scam resulted in a significant loss to the Museum.

McGuire’s defence, Jonathan Campbell, said his client accepted responsibility for the fraud and had pleaded guilty early.

The court heard at the time of the offences he had been having relationship problems and was depressed after the disciplinary hearing.

McGuire had financial difficulties and was caring for his father who had dementia.

“He was not funding a lavish lifestyle” said Mr Campbell.

The money and stamps recovered at McGuire’s home and in his locker at the Museum, were valued at £13,276.

The court heard previously the value of the stamps sold on eBay was £12,797.

The Sheriff told McGuire she took into account all said on his behalf by his lawyer and the social work report stating a Community Service Order could be imposed with a Compensation Order.

She said she realised he also had no previous convictions but this did not change her decision to jail him.

“I think it would send out quite the wrong message to you and others like you in a position of trust contemplating such activities, if criminal activities of such a nature were to be marked by any disposal other than a custodial sentence to bring home to them that such criminal behaviour will not be tolerated by the courts.”

She said it was right that he should be “punished and punished severely”.

She told McGuire that because of his early plea she had reduced a sentence of 18 months to 12.

A Compensation Order hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be held in November.