Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Trio Jailed for College Swindle; TRUSTED WORKERS STOLE CASH

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Trio Jailed for College Swindle; TRUSTED WORKERS STOLE CASH

Article excerpt

By ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter A COLLEGE was duped out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, a training charity was forced to close and jobs were lost as a result of a sophisticated fraud by three trusted workers.

Executive managers Joanne Mounter and Paula Bolan, helped by training assessor Kym Norman, created fictitious clients at Team Wearside so they could con cash out of their subcontractors for costs.

As a result of the scam, Sunderland College was duped out of more than PS300,000 and training firm Springboard was fleeced of around PS100,000.

A court heard that after the dishonesty was exposed, the two well-established and respected city businesses ceased trading with Team Wearside, a non-profit organisation which closed for good last month.

Mounter, 46, of Minster Court, Willington, County Durham, admitted three fraud charges and pocketed a total of PS186,306 in the scam.

Bolan, 45, of Lonsdale, Birtley, Gateshead, admitted two charges in relation to the PS177,662 she obtained.

At Newcastle Crown Court both of the women, who conducted the con for more than two years, were jailed for four years and four months each.

Norman, 53, of Stratford Avenue, Grangetown, Sunderland, admitted one charge in relation to PS40,426 he made in his involvement, which lasted about 12 months. He was jailed for two years and two months.

Recorder Andrew Haslam told the trio: "My judgement is your fraudulent activity played a significant role, or was a significant contributory factor to the failure of Team Wearside.

"A number of those employed at Team lost their jobs and it has ceased trading.

"That, in my judgement, constitutes a serious detrimental effect on the victims of the frauds."

The judge said he accepted the three were all now remorseful for what they did but told them: "Each of you, in my judgement, held a position of trust or responsibility within the organisation.

"It was a significant and sophisticated fraud, orchestrated by Joanne Mounter and Paula Bolan and into which you were recruited, Kym Norman."

Prosecutor Rupert Doswell told the court a "whistleblower" had reported financial regularities at Team Wearside, which was funded by a Governmentbacked agency, was established more than 25 years ago and helped unemployed people train for work, which resulted in an investigation. …

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