Former union official guilty of charity theft

03/04/2012

A former Trade Union official has been convicted of using funds from a charity and its trading subsidiary company to pay for substantial improvements to his own home – actions described by CPS East Midlands Chief Crown Prosecutor Judith Walker as "deceitful and shameful".

Neil Greatrex, the former President of the Nottinghamshire section of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, was one of the trustees of the Nottinghamshire Miners Home, a registered charity that provided assistance to Nottinghamshire miners and their dependants. He was also one of the directors of the Phoenix Care Home Limited, the charitys trading company. He was in effective control of both the Charity and the subsidiary company.

Despite his position of trust, he used funds from both the charity and the trading company to pay building contractors for work that had been carried out on his own home.

He asked the contractors to invoice the charity or the trading company before signing the cheques to pay the false invoices raised. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) received evidence that this had taken place on 14 occasions and in doing so funds to the value of almost £150,000 had been stolen.

Once the extent of the dishonesty was revealed, Neil Greatrex was charged with fourteen offences of theft, relating to each of the invoices submitted and paid. The prosecution was conducted by the CPS East Midlands Complex Casework Unit who worked closely with South Yorkshire Polices Economic Crime Unit Manager. 

Michael Stevens, the General Secretary of the Nottinghamshire section of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, a trustee of the charity and a director of the trading company, was also charged with 14 offences of theft. Following the two week trial at Nottingham Crown Court he was acquitted by the jury who found him not guilty of each charge.

Judith Walker, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands said: "Neil Greatrex was given stewardship of charitable funds for a cause close to the hearts of many in his community. Instead of honouring that trust he abused his position and used funds meant for charity for improving his own home.

"Despite Neil Greatrexs claims that the invoices were genuine and that he was entitled to re-numeration as a director, having heard all the evidence the jury has decided that he is responsible for this catalogue of dishonesty and found him guilty of these deceitful and shameful actions."