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Macclesfield charity treasurer jailed for writing himself 71 cheques

A former treasurer of a charity for people with multiple sclerosis has been jailed after stealing £27,000.

A former treasurer of a charity for people with multiple sclerosis has been jailed after stealing £27,000.

Philip Wrench, 47, controlled the finances of the Macclesfield branch of the MS Society for two years.

He siphoned off the cash by writing dozens of the charity’s cheques to himself.

The fraud was uncovered by auditors after Wrench quit his voluntary role as treasurer and failed to submit the annual accounts.

Wrench, of Pool Street, Macclesfield, admitted fraud by abuse of position at Chester Crown Court and was jailed for 16 months.

Det Con Sarah Newton of Cheshire Police, who led the investigation, described Wrench’s actions as ‘an appalling abuse of trust’.

She said: "The charity had placed him in a position which gave him access to large sums of money and he took advantage.

"I hope he takes his time behind bars to consider the impact his crime has had on the charity."

Wrench had sole use of a cheque book used to pay invoices sent to the charity.

But between March 4, 2010, and February 17 this year, he wrote himself 71 cheques worth a total of £26,973.54.

In his role as treasurer he was required to complete the annual accounts after October 31. By early January this year, he hadn’t submitted them.

Wrench refused help with the accounts from members of the charity’s committee. He then stepped down from his role as treasurer. Auditors uncovered the fraud and the charity called the police.

Derek Farmer, chairman of the MS Society Macclesfield, said the branch were ‘shocked and dismayed’ by Wrench’s actions and urged people to continue supporting the charity.

He said: "We are satisfied that this matter has been brought to a conclusion by the courts and we can now begin our own internal audit review to ensure our processes are as strong as they can be.

"We cannot do the work we do without the trust and generosity of our members and supporters.

"I would like to reassure them that this has been dealt with quickly and we can now get on with what we’re here for – to support people with MS."

 

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