Three trustees arrested at military charity over fraud claims

A statement from the charity Soldiers Off the Street says the allegations are unfounded

Three trustees at the military charity Soldiers Off the Street have been arrested in relation to an allegation of fraud.

A statement from the British Transport Police, which is investigating the case, said two men aged 54 and 66 and a 44-year-old woman, all from north Wales, had been arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position. The trio, who have not been named by police, have been released on bail until 9 May.

A BTP spokesman said: "I can confirm we are investigating an allegation of fraud involving three people.

"The offence relates to allegations of charity trustees gaining financially, and is believed to have taken place between 2010 and 2016."

Soldiers Off the Street, which helps to re-home and treat homeless veterans, is also working with the Charity Commission on some regulatory concerns proactively identified by the regulator, although the charity is not the subject of a statutory inquiry.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission said: "The Charity Commission proactively identified concerns regarding the registered charity Soldiers Off the Street through its monitoring and oversight of the sector. The commission has been engaging with the trustees to address its regulatory concerns."

In a statement on its Facebook page, Soldiers Off the Street acknowledged the arrests but said the allegations were unfounded.

The statement said: "The three involved are devastated that this information has been leaked as even their families do not know as they did not want to cause them stress and worry as the allegations are unfounded; they have not been charged. The three involved are obviously upset about the allegations and are helping the BTP with their inquiries.

"To date they have not been shown any evidence by British Transport Police that justifies an arrest in the first place and feel this information has been leaked to lose the charity support and would only affect the homeless veterans we are trying to help."

The Soldiers Off the Street statement also said the Charity Commission completed an audit in September 2014 at the charity’s head office and gave the charity an action plan, which has subsequently been put into place. The statement said the charity was given the all clear in March 2015.

According to its latest accounts, the charity had an income of £96,029 and an expenditure of £76,196 for the year to 28 August 2014. The accounts say that the charity had net reserves of more than £77,000 for the same period.

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