Former council leader jailed for charity fraud

Ex-councillor pleads guilty to stealing £25,000 from homelessness charity

A former council leader has been jailed for three years after stealing almost £25,000 from the homelessness charity he ran.

David Cartwright, 52, of Donnington Close, Redditch, was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to stealing from the Worcestershire-based Step Out Drop In (Third Sector Online, 16 January).

Cartwright stole the money over a three-year period ending in December 2005, during which time he also served as the leader of Redditch Borough Council.

He also admitted making fraudulent claims on behalf of the charity totalling more than £63,000, by claiming government grants to fund wages for non-existent employees and submitting false invoices to the local authority and grant-maker the Eveson Charitable Trust.

Step Out Drop In was closed down about three years ago after a 2005 Charity Commission investigation found it had substantial debts and had operated with lax financial controls.

Cartwright was investigated by West Mercia Constabulary's economic crime unit after a complaint from Worcestershire County Council's adult community services department.

Detective sergeant Robin Vick from the economic crime unit said: "As an elected representative of the people, Cartwright was in a position to assist some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Unfortunately, he chose to put his own selfish interests before those of the people he was duty bound to protect."

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