UK Charity Fraudster Jailed
22 January 2014 at 2:04 pm
A former UK Magistrate and Bishop has been sentenced to two years jail on fraud charges after an investigation by the UK Charity Commission – the charity regulator for England and Wales.
The Charity Commission said it welcomed the sentencing of charity fraudster Gerald Edmund, a Bristol bishop who admitted to stealing £186,000 from his church.
The 76-year-old former magistrate was sentenced on Friday, January 17 at Birmingham Magistrates Court to two years for stealing the money from Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic (a registered UK charity).
Edmund, who was bishop at Bethel Apostolic Church in St George between 1962 and 2002, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of fraud by false representation between July 2010 and February 2011.
The Charity Commission said it independently provided authorisation for the charity trustees to carry out legal proceedings in the civil courts to recover the charity's funds on the basis they had been misappropriated.
“The Commission continues to have an operational compliance case open into the charity regarding issues surrounding governance, accounting and reporting,” the Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, Michelle Russell, said.
"We welcome the sentencing in this case which has highlighted that those who abuse charities and their position of trust in them in this way will be brought to justice, no matter who they are or the position of authority they hold.
“The charity in question has a large income, but the funds stolen are significant, and the actions taken to deceive the charity, its supporters and beneficiaries are shameful. The court's sentence of two years is a warning to those thinking of stealing charitable funds this way that they will not get away with it.
“This case serves as a timely reminder for those who are involved in charities to be alert to situations like these, and for trustees and managers to ensure strong financial controls and monitoring procedures are put in place.”
The UK Charity Commission has published advice for trustees on how to report incidents of fraud and financial abuse, and on what charity trustees' duties are in relation to ensuring strong financial controls are put in place [CC8 and Toolkit chapter 3] on the Commission's website.