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Fraudster jailed for stealing thousands from charity

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A 53-year-old woman who defrauded a charity out of tens of thousands of pounds has been jailed for more than two years.

Tracy Parsons, from Newport, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday (10 October) after she pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, false accounting, and money laundering.

She was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

The court heard how Parsons was working at a Bristol-based charity from 2005 in different roles before becoming the HR and Finance Manager.

Parsons started taking money from the charity in July 2016.

She carried out 54 fraudulent transactions between 2016 and December 2020, totalling more than £94,000.

In a bid to cover-up her crimes, Parsons provided the charity with falsified bank statements and paperwork.

Her crimes were uncovered when the charity carried out an audit which found discrepancies.

Due to Parsons’ role at the time, she was asked to explain the difference where she confessed to taking the money.

In a statement, a representative from the charity said: “The loss came at the time of the pandemic when our future was very uncertain. This left the charity in an extremely vulnerable position.

“We were fundamentally shaken. The CEO was the victim of duplicitous behaviour and was directly lied to for years.”

Parsons used the money to pay off debt and for generic living.

The Deputy Senior Investigating Officer, DS Louise Sinclair from the fraud team, said: “Parsons actions were against a charity which worked to better the lives of the community it served by planning community events, providing safe spaces and allowing people to connect and come together.

“She stole over a number of years and abused the trust afforded to her by the charity, its users and donors.

“Her actions are despicable and I hope this sentence will give the community some solace that she is being held responsible for what she has done.”

A Proceeds of Crime hearing will follow in due course to look at recovering some of the funds.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.