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2nd Jul, 2022

Dishonest former charity treasurer ordered to repay more cash after spending spree

THE FORMER treasurer of Kineton Music Festival, who went on spending sprees with the charity’s money, has been ordered to pay back another £1,000 after an investigation into her finances.

Earlier this year Samantha Strong was given a suspended prison sentence after she pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of fraud in abuse of a position of trust.

The 33-year-old, of Horseshoe Crescent, Wellesbourne, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years and made subject to an overnight curfew for four months.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned then for an investigation into her finances after the court heard she had paid back £13,000 of the money she stole.

And at the resumed hearing, prosecutor Russell Pyne said it was agreed Strong’s benefit from dishonesty was £26,532 – but her only available asset was a Renault Megane worth £1,000.

So he asked for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act of £1,000 and for that to be paid in compensation to HSBC which has refunded the Music Festival for its loss.

Her barrister Adam Western asked for Strong, who lost the job she had held for 11 years following her guilty plea, to be given time to pay.

He explained: “She’s a single mother, and is about to start a new job, and is going to use her pay from that to meet the amount.”

So Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ordered the £1,000 to be paid within three months, with Strong facing one month in prison in default of payment in full by that date.

During the original hearing Sarah Morris, prosecuting on that occasion, said Strong, while treasurer of the Kineton Music Festival, had abused the position in various ways between November 2015 and August 2016 for her own benefit.

After her dishonesty was discovered by Kineton Musical Festival’s chairman, she immediately admitted taking the money.

The police were informed, and when she was arrested she said she had ‘money troubles’ at the time, and was trying to pay back what she had taken.

Miss Moore said as a result of Strong’s dishonesty, a planned community project to build a disabled toilet could not go ahead, and it was feared there was a risk sponsors would lose confidence in the charity.

Strong, who Judge Lockhart observed had ‘self-diagnosed’ as being bipolar, referred to herself as having been ‘three people’ at that time.

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