A former financial director who defrauded Simon Fraser University of more than $800,000 has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Siamak Saidi stole the money from the Faculty of Science.

According to an internal audit cited in a civil suit, Saidi submitted more than 500 fraudulent invoices to the university for companies that he directed. The money was reportedly used to buy three properties.

Saidi left the university in 2012 as a result of restructuring, but his crimes were exposed by a new manager.

By then Saidi was working as manager of financial services for the Cultus Lake Park Board, a job he promptly lost as details of the SFU fraud became public.

His lawyer Larry Gold says Saidi pleaded guilty to defrauding both the university and the Cultus Lake Park Board.       

"The crimes that he plead guilty, they were serious, they involved a lot of money and a fair amount of planning."

Saidi had been in custody for a year and now has four more to go, says Gold.

"He's a man in his middle 50s who hasn't really got a lot to look forward to when he comes out," said Gold.

With files from Jason Proctor