A former office manager from Seaford has been jailed for stealing almost £100,000 from a charitable trust which eventually collapsed as a result of her crimes.
Within months of taking up the post at the Bentham Development Trust, Anne Yaman began forging signatures on cheques to obtain money for herself and then used internet banking to steal a total of £94,000 between January 2009 and November 2011.
Bradford Crown Court heard on Monday that Yaman’s activities, which also included falsifying the trust’s accounts, led to the non-payment of VAT and the understating of employees’ income tax and national insurance.
Prosecutor Matthew Bean told the court that Yaman’s offending only came to light in November 2011 when the trust management were told that new kitchen appliances at her home had been paid for using the trust’s account.
Mr Bean said the information led to an investigation which laid bare Yaman’s mismanagement of the trust’s finances and the extent to which she had been using it’s money for her own benefit.
Judge Jonathan Rose highlighted the fact that Yaman had spent £3,000 on a skiing holiday which he described as “a pure luxury” and the court heard that she also made payments to credit cards and her mortgage company.
Mr Bean said Yaman’s actions led to the trustees being kept in ignorance of the true financial position and allowed her to continue to steal money from the trust.
As a consequence of Yaman’s acts the trust ceased trading in March 2012 by which time it was mainly involved in providing services to the community under the name of ‘The Little Red Bus’.
The collapse of the trust meant the service had to be taken over by another organisation with the staff re-employed on reduced rates of pay.
Mr Bean said the freezing of the trust’s bank account led to financial difficulties for members of staff and in total 15 part-time employees were made redundant.
Yaman, who moved to Seaford, pleaded guilty to charges of theft, fraud and false accounting last June, but her sentence was repeatedly delayed on the grounds of serious medical problems.
But on Monday it emerged that the 64-year-old had herself forged a series of letters from doctors and consultants which exaggerated her health difficulties.
Judge Rose jailed Yaman for three years for the offences involving the trust and added a further 16 months for the offence of perverting the course of justice by submitting the bogus letters to the court.
Yaman, who was sentenced via a video link to HMPH Bronzefield in Surrey, was told by Judge Rose that a substantial prison sentence was appropriate for someone who had persistently forged documentation and stolen money for her own selfish ends with not a care for those who would be so badly hurt by her greed.
Judge Rose said the vast majority of the stolen money had been spent by Yaman creating a better lifestyle for herself and he noted that she herself had said it had been “frittered”.
He said the case involved a woman of greed who was unwilling to live within her means and who lived without her means by stealing between £2,000 and £3,000 a month from the charity that had placed such great trust in her.