A charity worker has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to repay £24,000 that she stole from an Oxfordshire charity.
Tracey Pearson, 46, of Harwell, near Didcot, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at a hearing at Oxford Crown Court on 20 May. On 9 June, at the same court, she was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Pearson was hired as a book-keeper for the local support charity Changing Lives Didcot in June 2014. According to the charity, she began siphoning money using its bank card from August 2014.
The fraud was discovered in July 2015 when a trustee checked through the charity’s bank statements and found that significant sums had been withdrawn on a regular basis.
Val Prior, who runs the charity, said after the hearing that she was disappointed a custodial sentence was not given.
"The charity is my baby and we feel devastated she wasn’t handed a custodial sentence," she said. "That would have been the only justice for me, because she didn’t just steal from me, she stole from the public."
Pearson was also given an electronic tagging curfew for four months and a probation service supervision for nine months.