Boss who audited his own charity repays part of fee

The former boss of Scottish children's cancer charity Moonbeams has averted the threat of legal action against him by repaying a "substantial proportion" of the £93,000 fees he received for auditing its accounts.

Gary Easton, who also served for a time as Moonbeams’ secretary and director, was ordered to repay the money after the charity was wound up in 2003 by the Scottish Charities Office, the predecessor to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The charity’s accounts were frozen by the courts after it emerged that it had spent only £70,000 of the £3m it had raised on its beneficiaries. Liquidators concluded that the £90,000 Easton had been paid for auditing the accounts between 2000 and 2003 were excessive and threatened him with legal action if he did not repay a “substantial proportion”.

Judicial factor Bill Cleghorn, the creditors’ court-appointed trustee, confirmed Easton had paid back an “acceptable amount”, believed to be about £50,000.

Easton was also fined £1,000 by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants for auditing Moonbeams’ books at the same time as he was helping to manage it.

The collapse of Moonbeams came soon after the failure of Breast Cancer Research (Scotland), which also had its assets frozen after an investigation found that only £1.5m of the £13m it had raised was spent on research. The scandals were blamed for undermining public confidence in Scottish charities and were the impetus for the founding of OSCR.

Earlier this year another Scottish charity, the Children with Cancer & Leukaemia Advice & Support for Parents, blamed the scandals for a drop in public donations that threatened its future.

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