The stories of the month: Finance

More than half of small charities' annual reports and accounts do not meet minimum basic standards and many are unaware of their reporting obligations, according to the Charity Commission. In three reports, the commission says it found numerous deficiencies in accounting by small charities, with several providing an annual report and accounts only once the commission had informed them of the requirement. But the research also found an improvement in the accounting practices of larger charities.

A father and son and an accomplice have been found guilty of stealing £5m in a Gift Aid fraud involving money claimed on donations that did not exist. John Davies, 58, of Esher in Surrey, and Olsi Vullnetari, 38, of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, were found guilty at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court of two counts of cheating the public revenue and one count of money laundering between June 2005 and January 2014. John Davies's son Benjamin, 31, of Manchester, was found guilty of one count of money laundering during the same trial. The three were accused of taking Gift Aid paid by the government to two charities. John Davies's daughter Melody, 28, of Shrewsbury, who was also accused of cheating the public revenue in the same case, was cleared of all charges.

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