Treasurer who stole £200k from disability charity has pension fund confiscated to pay back funds
PUBLISHED: 12:55 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:04 22 December 2017
A Suffolk charity which faced an uncertain future after its treasurer defrauded it of more than £200,000 is to get back more than £100,000 of the money.
Neil Payne, 51, was jailed for four-and-a-half-years earlier this year at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting fraud by abuse of position.
Today, at a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act a judge ordered that £129,690 in Payne’s three pension funds should be paid as compensation to the charity.
The court heard that Payne’s criminal benefit from his offending was £212,639 and the available amount from his pension funds was £129,690.
Recorder Rex Bryan ordered this sum should be paid to DIAL Lowestoft and Waveney.
Payne, formerly of Rushton Drive in Carlton Colville, was volunteer treasurer at the charity which works with people with physical and sensory disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health problems and long-term illness.
Between October 2010 and January 2017, he made more than 270 transactions between the charity’s bank accounts and his personal account.
The court heard this left the charity in a desperate financial position and caused distress to the trustees and staff of the organisation and the vulnerable people they work with.
The alarm was raised after charity chairman Margaret Oldham was contacted at the end of January this year by staff who reported they had not been paid. She and several others then tried to get in touch with Payne but there was no reply to phone calls or emails.
A few days later, with no response, Mrs Oldham went to the bank. She described being horrified as she was shown the charity accounts – which showed there was just £289 in the current account and 8p in the savings account, when there should have been over £10,000.
She then checked a further account – the charity reserves – which should have had £54,000 in it and it was found to contain just £2,000.
During police interviews Payne said he had started stealing because money had been tight after he resigned from his job.
He said that after finding new employment on a lower wage he continued to steal to maintain his lifestyle.