Search

Disgraced charity worker could face jail

PUBLISHED: 20:58 26 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

DISGRACED Suffolk charity worker Patricia Wadsworth was today warned she faces jail after defrauding a disability charity of thousands of pounds.

Wadsworth, 53, of Norton Road, Tostock, admitted taking more than £2,000 from Stowmarket based charity, Rethink Disability.

DISGRACED Suffolk charity worker Patricia Wadsworth was today warned she faces jail after defrauding a disability charity of thousands of pounds.

Wadsworth, 53, of Norton Road, Tostock, admitted taking more than £2,000 from Stowmarket based charity, Rethink Disability.

She pleaded guilty to charges of theft and false accounting, at Bury Magistrates Court today.

The bench heard how Wadsworth invented fictitious mileage claims and pocketed the cash in her role as Transport Services Manager at the organisation's headquarters at Red Gables, Ipswich Road, Stowmarket.

The court was told that Wadsworth promptly repaid £2,378 of £4,399 that an audit found to be missing from the charity's account.

She also handed over £205 which she had taken from petty cash.

After an internal investigation had uncovered her activities, she resigned after 14 years in her post, the charity's longest serving employee.

Andrew Fitch-Holland, prosecuting, told magistrates that Wadsworth had invented names for disabled clients who the charity, she claimed, had provided transport for.

However, the charity was unable to trace this names and her fraught was unmasked.

David Shipman, mitigating, said that although Wadsworth had committed a 'serious' breach of trust, hers was not 'a sophisticated deception'.

"It was bound to be detected," he added.

The court heard how previously her paperwork and commitment to the charity was 'meticulous' and she had carried out a great deal of unpaid voluntary work for Rethink.

Adjourning for pre-sentence reports, Chairman of the Bench Mrs Jane Heard, said that Wadsworth had been in a serious position of trust and that all options, including imprisonment, remained open.

Speaking after the case, Colin Poole, Chief Executive of Rethink, told the Evening Star: "During the time in which she was dishonestly claiming expenses for journeys she had not made, there were more than 26,000 community car journeys arranged by her office, which had to be charged at different rates depending on the nature of the trip and who was paying for it.

"Despite this huge forest of information, Rethink Disability was still able to detect anomalies and as a result the treasury team carried out a full audit of the department which uncovered the misappropriation.

"Rethink Disability has no understanding as to why such a longstanding employee, who also volunteered with other Suffolk charities, should have decided to commit such a fundamentally dishonest act as misappropriating funds which had been raised to enable disabled people to get out and about in their community."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists