A trustee has been disqualified from trusteeship and ordered to pay over £200,000 after stealing from the funds of a miners’ charity.
A Charity Commission inquiry found two trustees of the Nottinghamshire Miners Home (NMH) were guilty of ‘serious misconduct and mismanagement' in the running of the charity, which has resulted in the disqualification of one of the trustees.
The inquiry was opened by the regulator in August 2007 after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) raised concerns that the charity’s trading subsidiary, Phoenix Nursing and Residential Home Ltd (PNRHL), may be being misused for the benefit of two of the charity trustees and their families.
Commission investigators obtained information from the banks of NMH, PNRHL, the trustees and the charity’s accountant, which revealed the two trustees had benefitted from £150,000 of charitable funds through fraudulent invoicing, which were spent on building works carried out at private properties connected both trustees.
Following witness statements to support the prosecution at a hearing in 2012, trustee A was convicted of 14 counts of theft and automatically disqualified from trusteeship.
Trustee B was found not guilty, but the regulator deemed them to be responsible for misconduct and/or mismanagement of the charity, failing to provide any real oversight to the wrongdoings happening among the organisation.
Trustee A was subsequently ordered to pay over £200,000 in compensation to the charity, which included £50,000 in interest.
“This case involved an appalling and cynical misuse of funds intended for deserving people. Through the diversion of money for personal comfort, vital resources were taken from those they were there to help. Charities exist to improve lives and strengthen society, but the actions of these individuals meant that a community was badly let down,” Charity Commission head of investigation and enforcement, Harvey Grenville said.
“Our intervention provided vital support to prosecutors, ensured that those responsible faced the consequences of their actions and enabled the sizeable recovery of charity funds. This should send a strong signal that this type of abuse will not be tolerated.”
“This inquiry protected important charitable assets and ensured that funds could be put to good use for mining communities in Nottinghamshire.”
Following the inquiry over £1 million has been donated to good causes – notably to support people connected with the Nottinghamshire area coal field, including vulnerable beneficiaries.
Nottinghamshire Miners’ Home was wound up and removed from the register of charities in January 2017.