Charity’s former head of finance jailed after stealing £54,000

24 Apr 2018 News

The former head of finance at Welsh community regeneration charity NSA Afan has been jailed after stealing £54,000 from the organisation.

Wales Online reported that Gemma Ellen Mason was sentenced to 12 months in prison, and will serve half that time in custody before being released on licence.

It said that Swansea Crown Court heard last week that for three-and-a-half years Mason was using the charity’s bank cards to buy things for herself - in total spending some £53,673 of the charity’s money.

The website reported that Mason had spent the money on items including fake tan, designer clothes and shoes, handbags, make-up, a diamante-studded headboard, a sofa, novelty penis-shaped drinking straws, cocktail umbrellas, champagne buckets and a tablet computer.

Repayment demands

NSA Afan said it is seeking recovery of more than £500,000 from Mason after it received notices and invoices from the Welsh government in January for the amount.

The charity said it is required to repay £565,873-worth of grant funding wrongly claimed between 2010 and 2015 to the Welsh government.

This money comprises £496,340 from the Wales European Funding Office between 2010 and 2015 and £69,532 from the Welsh Government Communities First Funding between 2013 and 2015.

Ian Isaac, chief executive of NSA Afan, said: “We are of the firm view that in each case Gemma Mason was seeking to unilaterally bring income into the organisation as part of deception to cover up here credit card fraud and theft of project cash sales which was taking place at the same time.”

Commission inquiry

The Charity Commission launched an inquiry into the charity in July 2017 after its funding was suspended by the Welsh government.

At the time, the charity claimed it had been “victimised” by the Welsh government after theft by a single employee left £90,000 unaccounted for.

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