Wiltshire hospice defrauded of £130,000

Dorothy House Hospice Care says it was the victim of a 'sophisticated financial fraud by an external party' on 16 May

Dorothy House Hospice Care
Dorothy House Hospice Care

A hospice charity in south-west England has been hit by a £130,000 fraud, it has announced.

Dorothy House Hospice Care said in a statement yesterday that it had been the victim of "a sophisticated criminal financial fraud by an external party" earlier this month.

The statement said the charity, based in Wiltshire, had no evidence that there had been any staff collusion in the fraud, in which funds were stolen from the charity’s bank account on 16 May.

A spokeswoman for the charity, which operates a hospice near Bath but provides the bulk of its services in the community, said she was unable to give any further details about how the incident happened because of an ongoing police investigation.

But Dorothy House has commissioned a full analysis of the incident by a professional forensic investigation company and is expected to make the results available as soon as it can.

The charity, which had an income of £11.1m in the year to the end of March 2016, said it had alerted all the relevant authorities to the incident, including the Charity Commission.

It is unclear at this stage whether the hospice will be able to recover the funds.

John Davies, chief executive of the charity, said no patient information or care was compromised by the incident and there was no financial risk to the charity arising from it.

But he said the crime was "an affront to the amazing work and support of our community, staff and volunteers".

He said: "The hospice is constantly vigilant of all aspects of online security and we are well protected against cyber-attacks like the recent ransomware virus that affected parts of the NHS.

"We are alerting other local hospices to help them avoid any similar fraud. Looking ahead, we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Dorothy House and its funds are secure and we will continue to deliver the outstanding care for which we are renowned."

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