A SCAMMER has been ordered to repay more than £1million he made from his crimes.

Neil Stanley Dunningham was sentenced to 30 months in jail in 2017 when he admitted six counts of money laundering following a complex fraud from his employer.

The 50-year-old stole the hefty sum from bosses during his time as a contractor for Sir Robert McAlpine.

Working alongside fellow crook and surveyor, David Ager, the pair syphoned a total of £1,277,014.21 from the company over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Ager of Parkside, Spennymoor, was sentenced to three years in prison for his part in the scam which saw him buy expensive cars and lead a lavish lifestyle.

The 38-year-old has since paid back £402,659.12 of a total of 1,424,480.80 he was ordered to repay.

At Newcastle Crown Court today, Dunningham was ordered to repay a total of £1,015,363.97.

Judge Earl ordered £800,000 to be paid within three months or Dunningham will face a further six years in prison.

Thousands of pounds from his bank accounts have been seized and his house sold after he used the fraudulent funds to pay off the mortgage.

Dunningham, of Sunderland Road, Sunderland, criminal benefit amounted to £665,634.21.

The financial investigation took almost five years which resulted the increase in the value of money being applied to compensate for the use of the cash that had been stolen by Dunningham.

Following an investigation by Durham Constabulary and the CPS, more criminal funds were established with a confiscation order made against Dunningham of £1,015,363.97.

Durham Constabulary financial investigator, John Foreman, said: “This has been an arduous and difficult case to investigate and prosecute from the outset, resulting in the necessity to carry out a thorough financial investigation into the financial affairs of Dunningham and his company which has spanned a number of years.

“The company has suffered substantial losses and there is great satisfaction in exposing the full extent of Dunningham’s criminal lifestyle has been fully established and his criminally obtained assets taken from him.

“I hope this sends a message to others and assures the public that no stone will be left unturned in order identify persons involved in criminality, taking from them any criminal benefit they have obtained, which may include cash, property, vehicles and valuable assets which have been obtained through their criminality.”

Ben Reid, specialist prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “We will always look to deprive criminals of their illegitimate lifestyles and seek compensation for victims where possible.

“Neil Dunningham fought to reduce the amount of money that he would pay but, through close and extensive work with the police over a number of years, we were able to ensure that Dunningham could not benefit from his criminal behaviour.

“The CPS has a robust approach to recovering the proceeds of crime and over £100m in criminal assets was recovered in respect of CPS prosecutions for 2019/20.”