Former treasurer pleads guilty to £400,000 charity theft

Accountant Martin Whatling admits theft from the League of Friends of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital

A chartered accountant has admitted to stealing more than £400,000 from a charity that raises money to buy hospital equipment.

Martin Whatling pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court last week to the theft of £406,260 from the League of Friends of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, between January 2002 and March 2007. Whatling was the charity's treasurer.

The stolen sum is around one fifth of the £2m lifetime income of the charity, which raises money to purchase equipment for the hospital. Whatling has been issued with a notice of confiscation proceedings by the Crown Prosecution Service, in a bid to recover the cash.

Whatling also pleaded guilty to providing false information in the charity's statement of its accounts. He has been released on bail and will be sentenced on 12 August.

James Morgan, the solicitor representing the charity, said: "The trustees are pleased and relieved that Martin Whatling has pleaded guilty.

"Once the criminal process has run its course, the charity will be able to review any other civil options it has with regard to the missing money."

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