Former Norfolk teacher jailed for defrauding education charity out of £180,000
PUBLISHED: 13:40 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:01 21 July 2018
A former Norfolk teacher has been jailed after defrauding a national education charity of more than £180,000 over a seven year period.
Philip Bujak, the former CEO of the Montessori St Nicholas charity, was sentenced to six years in prison for misusing a company credit card, filing false invoices and secretly taking a cut of the proceeds from the sale of a property in central London.
Following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, Bujak who has been subject to two separate trials at Southwark Crown Court, was found guilty of three counts of fraud by false representation, one count of conspiracy to defraud, and one count of fraud by abuse of position.
The Montessori St Nicholas network counts nearly 700 nursery and primary schools across the UK and 4,000 individuals among its members.
The court heard how, shortly after joining the charity in 2003, Bujak requested a company credit card which he used to pay for personal stays at hotels and – on one occasion – to pay for a facial.
In 2013, the charity’s accountant became suspicious and reported his credit card use to trustees.
In November 2014 after an internal investigation Bujak, 58, from Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, was dismissed and his actions were reported to the police.
Bujak was born in Attleborough and went to the town’s high school before heading to City College in Norwich.
He joined the army for nine years before beginning a career in teaching.
Having chosen to read English and European Political History at the University of East Anglia he began as a history teacher at Wymondham College.
He moved to Langley School, near Loddon, before becoming the head teacher of Stover School for Girls in Devon before he was appointed chief executive of the Montessori Schools Association.
City of London Police Investigator Jacqui Owen who led the case said: “Philip Bujak abused his position of trust to steal thousands of pounds for his own personal use. As the CEO of the charity he was able to control everything and went to considerable lengths to conceal these frauds.
“We worked tirelessly with the charity to investigate this case and make sure that Philip Bujak was brought to justice and made to realise the sheer immorality of his crimes.”