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Computer forensics expert testifies at fraud trial

A British computer forensics expert found e-mails and invoices that appeared to have been created on the home computer of fraud-accused Kyril Burrows, a jury heard.

Paul Weall, who assisted Bermuda Police as a consultant, examined data from computers seized by police during their investigation of Mr Burrows and his wife Delcina Bean-Burrows.

The couple are on trial at Supreme Court facing 35 charges including cheating Government, obtaining Government money by deception and false accounting. They are defending themselves.

According to Mr Weall, the names of 12 files on one of the couple’s computers began with the words “deception e-mail evidence”.

Amongst them was a document Mr Burrows presented to a prosecution witness, Robert Horton, when he cross-examined him last month.

Mr Burrows, who worked as a buildings manager at Works and Engineering, is accused along with his wife of stealing more than $553,000 of taxpayers’ money to fund their life of luxury.

Mr Burrows, 48, is accused of dishonestly submitting invoices so Government paid to rebuild the house he shared in St George’s with his 49-year-old wife.

He’s further accused of directing Government funds to his wife’s companies Ren Tech and Theravisions for work that was not done. He is further alleged to have spent Government cash on three televisions for his private use.

Mr Weall explained during his evidence that he found what appeared to be an invoice on one of the computers with the name Simmons Maintenance. The author was revealed to be Kyril Burrows according to his search of the computer data.

Asked to compare the document to one the jury had already seen, which was submitted to the Accountant General and signed off for payment by Mr Burrows, Mr Weall said the documents were exactly the same.

He told the jury the invoice was found in a document folder on the computer labelled “transferred files May 30 2007, Prospect, Contractors”.

He said it appeared to have been copied over from another computer on that date and that he also found a template on Mr Burrows’s computer for such an invoice.

This template appeared to have been sourced from the Microsoft computer website.

Mr Weall also told the jury about several documents on an external hard drive seized from the Burrows residence on March 1 2012 which were entitled “deception e-mail evidence.”

He explained that this contained documents which involved cutting and pasting of e-mails using the Word programme.

He compared them to e-mails found by investigators on the Government of Bermuda’s e-mail server and said in some cases, they could not be found on the server.

In other cases, e-mails on the Government server had been altered using the Word programme on the home computer.

Mr Weall said the “deception e-mail” files appeared to have been last altered or edited on the computer in October 2011 and January 2012.

The files contained e-mails dated 2008. Some involved exchanges between Mr Burrows and various colleagues at Works and Engineering including Permanent Secretary Mr Horton and chief surveyor David Brown.

Last month, Mr Horton was called as a witness for the prosecution. He told the jury he had “no recollection” of permitting two TV sets at the centre of some of the charges to be taken to Mr Burrows’s home.

When he was cross-examining Mr Horton, Mr Burrows presented him with what he described as an e-mail exchange dating from February 6 2008.

He told Mr Horton it came after Mr Horton and Minister Derrick Burgess visited the Prospect depot where he worked. The document he presented appeared to show David Brown asking Mr Horton to confirm his verbal approval that three TVs from the depot should be relocated to the couple’s home, following a directive from the Minister.

Mr Horton’s reply was “approval confirmed” according to the information he read out to the jury from the document presented to him by Mr Burrows.

Mr Horton told Mr Burrows he had no recollection of him giving a verbal agreement for the TVs to be relocated, and did not recall the e-mail he had been presented with. However, he confirmed it appeared to be sent and received by him according to the printout given to him by Mr Burrows.

Ms Mulligan pointed out, and Mr Horton agreed, that the printout from Mr Burrows saw the subject line change between the original e-mail and the reply. Mr Horton also agreed with the prosecutor that in one e-mail there was a space in the subject line and on another there is not.

Mr Weall told the jury this document was located on a Word document in one of the “deception e-mails” files on Mr Burrows’s computer.

He said it could not be located on the Government server. Government IT system worker Noel Taylor had testified earlier in the trial that all of Mr Burrows’s and Mr Brown’s e-mails for the relevant time period were still stored on the Government server, including deleted e-mails.

Mr and Mrs Burrows deny all the charges against them, and the case continues.

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Published April 16, 2012 at 9:51 am (Updated April 16, 2012 at 9:50 am)

Computer forensics expert testifies at fraud trial

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