Scope jumps in to prevent mistaken identity

Disability charity Scope has rushed to clarify it was not involved in a £150,000 fraud case heard at Bournemouth Crown Court last week.

John Cunningham, 35, admitted embezzling money from Dorset Scope, where he was finance manager, and spending it on expensive cars and renting a luxury apartment.

A spokeswoman for the national charity Scope said: “Dorset Scope is one of Scope's affiliated groups and supports our mission for disabled people to achieve equality. However, it is a separately registered charity that is completely autonomous and financially independent of the national charity Scope.”

Paul Barnard, chief executive of Dorset Scope, added: “Following the discovery of the fraud at Dorset Scope a year ago, the trustees took swift action to ensure robust financial procedures continue to operate.

“The advice provided following the engagement of forensic accountants and auditors has been acted upon. In view of ongoing litigation, it would be not be appropriate to make any further comment.”

Cunningham started to take money from the charity soon after he started in October 2003. He covered his tracks by creating false invoices from charity suppliers for the cheques he cashed over three years. He used the money to buy a fleet of expensive cars and motorbikes and a luxury flat. He is to be sentenced on 27 March.

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