Fundraiser found guilty of stealing
A FUNDRAISER is facing a possible jail sentence after a jury found him guilty of stealing £2,500 from the East Anglian Air Ambulance.Richard Green, 49, of Strickland Manor Hill, Yoxford, was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday of stealing the sum while he was the charity's chief fundraiser in Suffolk in 2001.
By Danielle Nuttall
A FUNDRAISER is facing a possible jail sentence after a jury found him guilty of stealing £2,500 from the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Richard Green, 49, of Strickland Manor Hill, Yoxford, was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday of stealing the sum while he was the charity's chief fundraiser in Suffolk in 2001.
He was also found guilty of three offences of false accounting by falsifying weekly returns of receipts for the charity.
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But speaking after the case yesterday, Green declared: "I will always maintain my innocence."
The trial heard Green, who had denied the offences, banked cheques for £906 from a garden open day at Yoxford, a £260 donation from Wrentham Parish Council and £1,337 from an open day at Hinderclay, but failed to mention the donations in his weekly returns.
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The prosecution claimed that having banked the cheques, Green then pocketed the cash equivalent from money donated to the charity.
Speaking after the case last night, Wrentham Parish Council clerk Angela Day said: "We had a car boot sale to donate the money from the stalls to the air ambulance.
"All the village contributed to it and people gave raffle prizes.
"I'm glad about the verdict as it is a good charity and to think he was taking the money is terrible."
Russell Pearce, organiser of the Yoxford open day, added: "It's good that justice has been done. "When you put a lot of time, effort and money into a day's event, only to find out that somebody has been dishonest and stolen the cash, it's very disheartening.
"That was the only year that we have raised money for the ambulance and we haven't done so since - a lot of people in the village were very upset about it."
After the verdict was returned, Mr Recorder Jeremy Richards told Green: "These are serious offences, they involve a breach of trust. I am bound to consider the question of a custodial sentence."
The Recorder released Green on unconditional bail and ordered a pre-sentence report to be undertaken. He will be sentenced at the end of February.
Giving evidence during his trial, Green claimed he had been told by Brian Cave, the fundraising manager for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Charity, that it was all right for him to "Rob Peter to pay Paul" and use funds from one event to bolster profits from another.
He claimed he had done this on several occasions but had not acted dishonestly.
Green's former girlfriend Alison Finch also gave evidence during the trial, claiming she had overheard the East Anglian Air Ambulance boss that it was all right to "Take from Peter to pay Paul".
Ms Finch, who had a seven-year relationship with Green until they split up in 2002, said Mr Cave had used the phrase a couple of times.
She told the court she had been present during a meeting at which Mr Cave allegedly said that if Green made a lot of money at one fundraising event and hardly any on another, it was all right to move money from one event to another.
Mr Cave denied the allegation when giving evidence.