Former treasurer who stole more than £200k from Lowestoft and Waveney DIAL back in court

Neil Payne was jailed for four-and-a-half years after stealing more than �200,000 from Lowestoft cha

Neil Payne was jailed for four-and-a-half years after stealing more than �200,000 from Lowestoft charity, DIAL. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Archant

A hearing which will decide how much money the treasurer of a disability charity who stole more than £200,000 from its bank accounts will have to repay has been adjourned until December.

Neil Payne, a chartered accountant who had volunteered his services as treasurer and trustee to Lowestoft and Waveney DIAL, paid himself a wage and expenses from the charity’s bank accounts and covered his tracks by lying and forging documents.

Payne, 51, of Rushton Drive, Carlton Colville, admitted fraud by abuse of position between 2010 and January 2017 and in July he was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Sentencing him, Judge Rupert Overbury described the fraud as “thoroughly despicable and disgraceful” and said his “selfish greed” had put the future of the charity in jeopardy.

He accused Payne of “cynically and deliberately” defrauding the charity for his own enrichment.

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“There was significant premeditation and you lied bare faced to those who trusted you and called you friend,” said the judge.

Today a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which will look at Payne’s assets and determine how much of the money he took from the charity he is able to repay, was adjourned until December 11 to allow more work to be done on the case.

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At the sentencing hearing in July the court heard that the charity, which deals with 6,000 enquiries a year, received funding from Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council, grants, donations and fundraising events.

Payne had volunteered his services as treasurer, trustee and committee member after the charity helped one of his friends in 2002 and was trusted completely by his fellow trustees.

Suspicions were aroused in January 2017 when the charity’s four members of staff were not paid and it was subsequently discovered Payne had embezzled £212,639.

At the sentencing hearing Peter Spary, for Payne, said his client had lost his previous good character in “spectacular style” and had run away with the intention of taking his own life when the fraud came to light.

Mr Spary said Payne was a shopaholic and had ended up in debt as a result of his out of control spending.

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