Former NI animal charity chief believed to be facing fraud charges

Stephen Philpott, the former chief executive of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has been charged with fraud, Third Sector understands.

Philpott, who was sacked for gross misconduct in July, is believed to be the 53-year-old man who police have confirmed was charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation yesterday.

After his arrest on 14 September, he is also believed to have been charged with possessing and concealing criminal property.

He is expected to appear at Newry Magistrates Court on 19 October.

A 52-year-old woman who was arrested at the same time has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

The USPCA did not respond to Third Sector’s request for comment, but when the arrests were made in September a spokeswoman said in a statement: "We became aware of suspected irregularities in our organisation and passed the information to the Police Service of Northern Ireland for investigation.

"We will continue to offer every assistance to the PSNI while they carry out their inquiries.

"We thank our members and the public for their continued support at this time."

Philpott was suspended in March this year after a review of corporate governance procedures at the charity.

The review came after a long-running statutory inquiry into the charity’s governance by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

In a statement at the time of his dismissal, the charity said Philpott’s sacking "related to aspects of his management of the charity following a comprehensive review conducted by an independent consultant, a full disciplinary hearing and an exhaustive appeal process".

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