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Charity Finance Officer admits to £500,000 fraud

Tuesday 12th January, 2021

A finance officer who defrauded three charities including his local church out of nearly £500,000 has been jailed following a police investigation. He was sentenced to three years in prison at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud by abuse of position over a six and a half year period.

He admitted stealing from his employers; he stole £287,000 from youth charity XLP where he worked as a finance officer, and almost £38,000 from Oasis College of Higher Education.

He worked within the accounting departments of two charities based in London. In this role he gained access to the company’s bank accounts and devised a complex method to send payments to himself. To cover his tracks, he gave the payments similar names to those of genuine suppliers, and amended the company records and accounting system to avoid raising any suspicions. According to the investigation.

Detective Constable Mark Baker, from the City of London Police’s fraud team, said: “McCulloch is one of the most devious individuals I have ever dealt with. He stole charity and church donations and used them for his own personal gain. He presented an image of someone caring, involved in his local community, leading a Christian lifestyle, and being generous with his money.

“His actions have left many people feeling shocked and deceived. The fraud he has committed has impacted the charities concerned in different ways, with some struggling to fund important services they would normally provide.”

In addition to his employment at the charities he volunteered as the treasurer of his local church between September 2013 and December 2018. During this time, he stole significant funds from the church congregation and the church bank account amounting to £130,000.

The investigation discovered he had squandered the majority of the money he had stolen, using it to buy fast food takeaways, making purchases on eBay and spending it on rental cars. This was despite the fact his accounts were continually overdrawn.

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