Ex-BlackRock Exec Doesn’t Have To Explain His £43,000 Commuting Scam To You

One of the more unglamorous aspects of being an adult with a job outside the home is the matter of commuting. Whether you’re driving, taking the subway, or being chauffeured, the entire thing is a grind, a time-suck, a nuisance, and an opportunity to catch whatever the breeding grounds for bacteria violating your personal space are spreading, to say nothing of the fact that depending on how far you live from the office, the whole thing can cost a nice chunk of change, money that could be better spent on just about anything.

BlackRock exec Jonathan Burrows knew the evils of the daily commute all too well. He wanted to live outside of London, in East Sussex, but he still had to show his face around the office Monday through Friday, which meant spending an hour on the train each way. He couldn’t get rid of the 2+ hour slog, or the commoners with whom he had to interact en route, but he should, he told himself one day, be able to cut the cost. AND CUT COSTS HE DID.

Jonathan Burrows has been unmasked as the mystery fare dodger of East Sussex who hit the news after settling a £43,000 bill for unpaid tickets over five years. The 44-year-old investment executive is thought to be the biggest fare dodger in history – avoiding the £21.50-a-day fee, despite owning two mansions worth £4million. He had hoped to avoid prosecution and publicity by reimbursing Southeastern trains just three days after being caught by a ticket inspector last November. Law-abiding commuters were outraged when the story broke in April that the rail firm had allowed him to quietly settle the allegations without being prosecuted…

His commuting scam was uncovered last year when a ticket inspector at London’s Cannon Street station, close to Burrows’s office, saw him swiping through the ticket barriers with his pre-paid Oyster travel card. The inspector realised Burrows had been charged only £7.20 – the modest penalty imposed when a passenger has failed to swipe in at the start of a journey. Burrows admitted having failed to use his Oyster card to tap in for five journeys between London Bridge – where he got off his train from East Sussex – and Cannon Street, which should have cost him just £2.30 a time. However, further inquiries revealed that until 2008 Burrows had been buying an annual season ticket from Stonegate, which has no ticket barriers, to Cannon Street, which costs around £4,500 a year for standard class. A standard daily single fare is £21.50. He had then stopped buying season tickets, but simply continued working in London, apparently only paying £7.20 for the brief final leg of his long train journey. Southeastern told Burrows he owed them £42,550 in unpaid fares, plus £450 in legal costs.

But the ire of his fellow full-freight paying commuters was not the only thing Burrows had to deal with.

The news also came to the attention of City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority, with which Burrows was registered. It started its own probe over concerns that his actions showed a lack of probity that could make him unsuitable for City work.

Naturally, he nonchalantly mentioned this to his bosses as though he was giving them a head’s up that he was going to be leaving work early one day next month for a doctor’s appointment.

…it wasn’t until last week that he warned bosses at asset management firm BlackRock – who knew nothing of his fare-dodging shame – that they might be getting a call from the regulator…A City source told the Mail: ‘Burrows was a very senior fund manager with BlackRock, dealing with hundreds of millions of pounds on a daily basis. But only last week he suddenly told his bosses, “The FCA might give you a call”. ‘He only let slip in passing that it was about this £40,000 fare-dodging payment. They suspended him immediately, but he refused to explain anything at all about the fare-dodging – and when more questions were asked he resigned without a payoff.

The best part of this story, of course, is that Burrows wasn’t working at some 2-bit brokerage house but the biggest asset manager in the world, and not as some pissant second year analyst but as a senior executive, which would be not unlike seeing surveillance footage of Gary Cohn jumping turnstiles in the subway or hearing that Jamie Dimon has avoided paying cab fare for the past decade by simply opening the door and rolling out of the car a block before his stop.

Outrage at high flying City asset manager who became ‘biggest fare dodger in history’ by avoiding £43,000 in rail tickets while owning two country mansions worth £4million [Daily Mail]

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31 Responses to “Ex-BlackRock Exec Doesn’t Have To Explain His £43,000 Commuting Scam To You”

  1. MemberoftheTribe says:

    It's tough to find a girl who uses the word 'pissant' on a semi-regular basis.

    Bess….marry me.

    • paying customer says:

      Clever, entertaining intro before the snippet from the actual story in the UK newspaper. Until I got to the second word I could've sworn this one was written by Shazar.

      • guest says:

        this post contains about 500x the amount of original commentary/value-add/humor than a standard shazar post.

      • FatGuySkinnyTie says:

        How could you make the mistake? You even said it yourself: "Clever, entertaining intro before the snippet.."

  2. guest says:

    was that wrong? should i not have done that?

  3. Jolly Roger says:

    WTF is wrong with these people. No one likes paying for this stuff but it is a fact of life. Threw away a great career because he's a cheap bastard. Fucking wanker

    • Union Jack says:

      Right-o, old boy! Bloody wankers like this chap can bugger off!

      -UBS Oxford Summer Abroad Quant

  4. guest says:

    Does 4m pounds really buy you two "mansions" in the greater London area?

    -Guy who's never been to London but read Brideshead Revisited once

  5. North Sea Oil Dealer says:

    Fucking cheater! Bringing regulatory eyes and the rest of the trading world's opinion upon those of us who honorably move trillions of dollars/pounds daily in commodities and financial derivatives! FICC people, foreign and domestic, who cheat at any operational level to personally obtain a "win" in some weird way are playing the game too hard and demean the intellectual capital of those of us who play "fair" in commodities and finance.

  6. BlackRock PR says:

    Isn't most investing about arbitrage? I see something mispriced low so I buy?

    Our esteemed BlackRock exec was simply arbitraging the difference between his £22.50 fare and the £7.20 penalty, something we do for our investors everyday!

  7. Symthe says:

    This typical behavoir of a 1%. They have everything a man could want yet they still cheat the system. Watch. His fancy barister will get him off. If this was a kid in Brixton jumping the turnstile he would be chained to the wall at the Old Bailey.

    • Quest says:

      No, he won't get off thanks to his barrister (note correct spelling) as civil or criminal charges have not been brought against him. Also no, a kid in Brixton wouldn't be chained to the walls of the Old Bailey, things have moved on since the Middle Ages.

  8. All of You says:

    Wankers! You're all a bunch of WANKERS!

  9. Shaz's beard says:

    He was obviously spending the train savings on designer wardrobes and high-end hair salons.

  10. Guest says:

    With the assumption that this guy is world class dumbass for weaseling out f paying a modest train fare, it seems awfully easy to do…no ticket barriers?

  11. guest says:

    43,000 pounds to ride the train for 5 years? How in the fuck? My 50 minute trip into the city costs roughly $2400/yr = 2400*5 = $12,000 = 7121.75 pounds. I can't blame the guy.

  12. joe says:

    Britain has some of the highest train fares in the world, but ol' jonny boy has set the debate about fares back by being a scamming cityboy

  13. Guest says:

    I remember reading about this months ago…his bosses are living under a blackrock or something.

  14. Guest says:

    Nice pants.

  15. BNP Sudan quant says:

    Fukin' douche.

  16. Guest says:

    Naga… Naga… Not gonna work here anymore

  17. Mr. Carson says:

    Dresses like he could be the Trivago guy's brother.

  18. St. Copious says:

    Let's assign some blame to Southeastern rail here. No wonder they originally wanted to settle it quietly. F'ing morons set up a payment system that was basically optional. I mean, guys, you have two jobs: Run the trains, and charge people to ride them.

  19. guest says:

    Based on everything else in that picture, that belt is reversible