A FRAUDSTER who landed a £120,000-a-year oil executive's job was yesterday jailed for lying about his academic qualifications.

David Scott made up three degrees from Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and Imperial College, London, awarding himself a First Class Honours in petroleum engineering in one case.

The 48-year-old also claimed to have written the acclaimed academic paper: Nonparametric Regression For Analysis Of Complex Surveys And Geographic Visualisation.

On the basis of his glowing CV, Scott was taken on as managing director of Mech-Tool, a thriving engineering company in Darlington in June last year, with his main task being to oversee two multi-million pound contracts in Kazakhstan.

The firm – a world leader in heat and blast protection in the oil and gas sector – paid him a basic salary of £120,000, a resettlement package, a £10,000 car allowance and bonuses; a deal placing him "high up in the commercial world".

However, within three months his colleagues realised that Scott was woefully out of his depth and began their own investigation into his background.

Mech-Tool's Marshall Garner, 66, discovered that Scott was a fraud who had gone into engineering after joining the Army at a junior rank and had never held an executive post in his life.

He also traced the academic paper back to Dr David W Scott, an American professor with the same name as Scott but with an impressive array of genuine qualifications.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court Scott claimed to have a Masters in business administration from Heriot-Watt, a Master of Science in petroleum engineering from Imperial College and a Bachelor of Science in Service Science from Imperial College.

The decisive factor was the academic paper, which appeared to prove that Scott, of Marwood Wynd, Stainton, near Stockton, was one of the finest engineering brains in the world.

But when the firm arrived in Kazakhstan its efforts were disastrous, with staff following a strategic plan drawn up by Scott which the judge said showed he was "quite clearly not up to the job".

Judge Armstrong said: "How you thought you were going to get away with this is difficult to imagine.

"Fortunately for this company, they became suspicious and made enquiries and discovered your fraudulent job application.

"Whether people have a tendency to lie on their CVs is not for this court to comment on, but where deliberate fraud is perpetrated the court has to follow the guidelines as to its effect."

The judge added: "This was not just claiming an extra GCSE or A level, this was fraud at the highest end of CV falsehood."

He said that had the firm not promptly discovered his deceit it could have cost them the contracts worth millions, which in the event were paid late because of his blundering.

He said it was high culpability deliberate fraud, sentencing Scott, who was of previous good character, to 12 months in jail.

The court heard that Scott gained his engineering experience after joining the Army and used his knowledge to start working in geo-structrual engineering in the Middle East.

He held several positions but found himself struggling to make a living when he was expelled from Libya by the Gaddafi regime.

After his divorce, his ex-wife kept most of the proceeds from their marital home and he began living off the capital, which had quickly dwindled.

The judge said that he took his service record into consideration and also that he had gone through the trauma of seeing colleagues killed while working in the Middle East.

Simon Perkins, mitigating, said: "We accept he was entirely criminally wrong to fabricate his CV.

"He has no degree, he was a relatively junior soldier who trained as a surveyor and had the facility to use his GPS surveying knowledge and go into geo-surveying."

A company spokesperson said in a statement: "The business demands the highest standards from its staff and, as such, we have very strict and robust governance and HR processes.

"It was these processes that raised concerns, and as such we immediately reported them to the appropriate authorities.

"The management and employees of Mech-Tool Engineering continue to provide a professional service with the highest levels of integrity that have become synonymous with the company.

"This will have no effect on the business as it looks forward to a strong 2018."