All creditors will be paid, says gala chairwoman

THE long-running saga of a Wick charity’s efforts to recoup thousands of pounds embezzled from its funds is set to reach a welcome conclusion later this month.

The 22,000 was stolen from the then Wick Town Improvements Association, by its treasurer Karen Spruce, more than two years ago leaving the organisation in the lurch with little or no funds to pay its creditors.
The fraud was subsequently discovered, and Spruce, admitted at Wick Sheriff Court embezzling the cash between April 26, 2005 and June 2008. The fifty-five-year-old was ordered to repay the money, in advance of sentence. She was warned by Sheriff Ian Cameron that failure to do so, would inevitably attract a prison sentence.
Spruce moved to the Western Isles and the case was transferred to Stornoway Sheriff Court where she was put on probation and ordered to carry out 240 hours unpaid community service, with a condition that she repay the cash she stole. The accused dragged her feet over repayments but towards the end of last year, she paid the final instalment.
Lorna Ross, chair of the Wick Gala Committee, which was formed after the embezzlement scandal, was delighted to announce today, that all creditors – the main one being Highland Council for work carried out with improvements to the town - of the WTIA would now be paid in full. Matters will be conclude at a meeting scheduled to take place at St Fergus Bowling Club, at 7pm, on January 23. Former members of WTIA are requested to attend.
Mrs Ross expressed relief that the long drawn-out and frustrating affair was moving to a satisfactory conclusion.