View Full Version : Spruce settles gala debt

06-Sep-12, 08:10
Fraudster pays former gala organisers £9,500 ahead of court appearance

KAREN SPRUCE, who cheated a Highland town out thousands of pounds of its gala funds, while acting as its treasurer, has finally repaid the outstanding balance.
Lorna Ross, chairwoman of the former Wick Town Improvements Association, was delighted to report, yesterday, that she had been advised by a representative of the Criminal Justice Board that a cheque for the balance of£9,500 was in the post.
The news ended a two-year court battle to persuade Karen Spruce to pay back all of the money she had taken.
The cash she stole, was money raised by the association, from the annual town galas. It plunged the organisation into a financial crisis and it subsequently was disbanded.
Spruce appeared at Wick Sheriff Court in June in 20010 and avoided a jail sentence by promising the sheriff she would pay back the £22,000 she stole over the three years, between April 2005 and June 2008, within eighteen months, and was therefore ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid community service.
The embezzler moved to Mill Street, in Stornoway in the interval and the island's sheriff court, was told in July this year that there was still £9,500 outstanding. A concerned Sheriff David Sutherland ordered a full investigation into Spruce’s finances and those of her long-term partner, before a further appearance in the dock later this month. However, in the interval, Spruce decided to pay up.
Mrs Ross said it had been a long, drawn- out, struggle to secure the cash they were owed.
She said: “There were times my association members feared they was never going to see the money, but, thankfully, everything has worked out for the best in the end.”
Mrs Ross is to convene a meeting soon, of former members of the association, which kept its bank account open, to break the good news.
She added: “ There are a few creditors still owed money but, hopefully, there will be something left over. It was money raised from the galas and I intend to propose any balance goes to the organisation which replaced ours, the Wick Gala Committee.”
Anyone owed money should contact Mrs Ross on Wick 603507 as soon as possible.