A former charity accountant has been jailed for eight months for defrauding the Gloucestershire-based digital inclusion charity Citizens Online of £100,800.
Dominic Fox, 50, of Sidmouth Street in Reading, Berkshire, was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on Monday after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
He was given an eight-month custodial sentence. He has been ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.
Fox worked for the charity for seven years as a contractor and had become in practice its accountant, providing financial strategy and advice, according to John Fisher, chief executive of Citizens Online.
Most of the money was taken during a three-week period in October 2013, said Fisher.
"It became clear that over a very short period of time he had cynically abused his long-standing position of trust as company accountant," he said. "He instructed and harassed a member of staff into making the payments and then concealing them."
Fisher said an internal audit was launched after the loss of money from the charity’s reserve fund was discovered in November 2013. Fox was then reported to Gloucestershire Police.
The charity’s reserve fund meant that it could continue without interruption to its operations and Fisher praised staff for their response to the crisis.
"We would like to pay tribute to our amazing staff," he said. "We are pleased to confirm that despite the loss of funds, Citizens Online has been able to carry on business as usual, providing services to the many thousands of disadvantaged people we support across the UK."
Insolvency Service records show that Fox was declared bankrupt at Reading County Court on 23 June, with 12-year bankruptcy restrictions put in place.
This means Citizens Online is unlikely to recoup the stolen funds. "There is no prospect of us getting the money back because he has no assets," said Fisher.
Citizens Online has an annual turnover of £1m and employs 25 full-time staff alongside a network of tutors and part-time staff.