Accountant for charity pocketed £34k while working at Trowbridge head office

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Shaw Trust headquarters at the White Horse Business Park, Trowbridge The Shaw Trust headquarters at the White Horse Business Park, Trowbridge

An accountant at the Shaw Trust who pocketed more than £34,000 from the charity's coffers has walked free from court.

Geoffrey Davis, 49 was working as a credit controller at the Trowbridge head office when he siphoned the cash into his own accounts from the charity which helps disabled and disadvantaged people find employment.

But, after hearing that the father-of-two had written a cheque to pay back what he took, a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Davis was employed on an hourly basis on a wage that would be the equivalent to £27,000 a year.

He said colleagues at the trust, which finds employment for disabled people, became suspicious about his activities.

Rather than recovering debt, as he was supposed to, Mr Meeke said he was writing off large amounts his figures 'looked too good to be true'.

After being called in for an interview he was dismissed and experts found he had been on the take.

Davis had told customer Newcastle City College and Hampshire County Council there was a new account to make payments into.

As result they paid £34,175.51 into his account, and Mr Meeke said it could have been more had Hampshire County Council not used the old details after he told them not to.

Davis was arrested and made a statement to police which, though accepting what he had done, sought to minimise his dishonesty saying he 'borrowed money'.

Davis, now of Highbridge, Somerset, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud between February and November 2012.

Alex Daymond, defending, said his client was going through financial problems following the collapse of his marriage. However he had written a cheque to repay what he took after receiving a large compensation payout in January for pension mis-selling.

Passing sentence Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC said: "You now have two teenage daughters.

"You are a disgrace to them. You have not only let yourself down but think of the effect it has on them. You are in the crown court and very close to prison."

He imposed a 12 month jail term suspended for two years and ordered payment of £34.175.51p compensation and £500 costs.

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