Woman jailed for ‘systematically’ defrauding multiple charities 

31 May 2024 News

Thames Valley Police

A woman has been jailed for defrauding a number of charities across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, to the sum of £47,000.

Following an investigation by Thames Valley Police, Parvinder Matharu was jailed for two years and two months at Reading Crown Court last week.

At a previous hearing, Matharu pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation.

Between 2013 and 2017, Matharu carried out the fraud offences against Iver United Charity, Wokingham United Charity, the Link Foundation, and another charity in Buckinghamshire that does not wish to be named.

She set up a charity called Sewak based in Slough, which was meant to support people who needed housing.

Instead of using the fundraised money to support vulnerable people, she used it for her personal gain, the police said.

The total amount Matharu fraudently applied for was £54,000, of which she obtained £47,000.

Police statement

Detective inspector Duncan Wynn, head of Thames Valley Police’s central fraud unit, said: “Parvinder Matharu abused the trust placed in her to systematically defraud charities of a substantial amount of money purely for her personal gain.

“By doing this she left charities unable to provide critical funding for vulnerable people who were entitled to the charity funding that Matharu stole.

“Her offences were sophisticated and pre-meditated in nature, involving the setting up of fake applications and then providing false invoices to cover her tracks enabling her to commit the fraudulent activity over a sustained period of time.

“Wrongly, fraud is often seen as a victimless crime. In this case precious charity funds were stolen and left vulnerable persons at risk of harm and unable to get the support they needed.”

Link Foundation 

The Link Foundation, one of the charities impacted by the fraud, said having money stolen potentially meant local children would go without.

They said procedures and records enabled the charity to work with the police to reclaim the monies taken fraudulently by Matharu totalling £7,440. 

Nicola Ross, trustee of the Link Foundation said: “We are grateful for the work Thames Valley Police has done to recover the monies taken fraudulently which will allow us to continue supporting the most vulnerable in our community.

“We know the difference a good night’s sleep can make to a child’s education and their ability to reach their potential in life so having these funds is crucial “

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