View Full Version : Embezzler now heading a fundraising drive

27-Mar-11, 18:53
New job for gala embezzler but no sign of promised repayment instalment to event organisers

THE RETIRING chair of Wick’s gala week committee has said it has not received any further payments from its former treasurer who swindled the organisation out of 20,000.
Lorna Ross was commenting on a Sunday newspaper report which revealed that Karen Spruce had got a job as president of a Western Isles college's Student Union, and was leading a drive to raise funds for charities.
That emerged in a picture story, in the latest edition of the Stornoway Gazette, featuring Ms Spruce handing over a cheque to representatives of the local RNLI, branch.
Mrs Ross expressed surprise at the fact that Ms Spruce was involved in a job involving cash, after the gala embezzlement. However, the Lewes Castle College say that Ms Spruce had advised them of her conviction and she, herself, stated she had nothing to do with the money for which the treasurer and the college finance officer were responsible and co-signed the cheques.
Ms Spruce appeared at Wick Sheriff Court at the end of June, last year and admitted embezzling the 20,OOO from the gala committee, between April 26, 2005 and June 11, 2008. The court heard that she had, since her initial appearance, repaid 12,500 to committee.
Her solicitor, Neil Wilson told that court that Ms Spruce who went to live in Stornoway after her the fraud was first uncovered, “plans to repay another 2,500, within the next 28 days”.
However, Mrs Ross said that the gala committee had not received this sum, and, in fact there had been no further payments made, over and above the 12,500.
Payment in full of the amount embezzled, is a condition of an 18-month probation order imposed by Sheriff Andrew Berry, who also ordered that the accused carry out 240 hours unpaid community service. She was warned that failure to comply with the order and the full repayment condition, would be a breach of probation.
Mrs Ross, who is stepping down as chairwoman, along with three other leading office bearers who feel it is time for new blood to take over, (see separate story in Doanalsin’s Diary) said they were waiting “impatiently” for the 2,500, but appreciated that Ms Spruce had until December, to hand over the rest of the money she had taken.
All cash raised at the annual gala is spent on improvements to Wick.