AN ACCOUNTANT has been jailed for eight months after defrauding a national charity out of £100,000.
50-year-old finance director Dominic Fox, of Sidmouth Street, Reading, pleaded guilty to abusing his position to defraud the Citizens Online charity at Gloucester Crown Court on Monday.
Recorder Jim Tindal said Fox had “made the selfish decision to make yourself bankrupt so that you have no legal obligation to pay the charity back”, the Gloucestershire Echo reports.
The court heard that over a period of five months, Fox asked a junior staff member to advance his wages, often several times a week, to feed his gambling addiction. Fox had sought help from Gamblers Anonymous before he began working for Citizens Online seven years ago but began gambling again.
Gloucester Crown Court heard that father-of-two Fox had declared himself bankrupt in 2005 and was stripped of his chartered accountant status. Citizens Online, based in Stroud, seeks to get everyone online and be able to access the internet.
Chief executive John Fisher told Financial Director: “The loss of the money from our reserves fund was discovered last November and we immediately commissioned a full and independent audit of our finances and systems.
“Mr Fox was a self-employed contractor and it became clear that over a very short period of time he had cynically abused his longstanding position of trust as company accountant. He had fraudulently breached the financial policies of the organisation and coerced a member of staff in order to gain access to money to feed a gambling habit.
“He was reported to the police and we would like to thank Gloucestershire Police and the CPS for the sensitive and efficient way they have dealt with the case.”