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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

High-end agency director quits after being found guilty of charity theft

A sales director of a branch of Humberts has resigned after being found guilty of stealing £2,500 from a charity.

Jane Hale denied accusations of stealing four tranches of money - £2,000, £100 and two sums of £200 - from a charity account administered by Beccles town council.

Hale, a former clerk of the council, was a trustee and signatory to the Diamond Jubilee Aid-in-Sickness Fund, from which the money was stolen between October 2013 and July last year.

Hale left the council’s employment back in 2005 and told Norwich Magistrates Court that she had mistakenly taken the money from the Nationwide account believing it was hers.

According to the Norwich Evening News, the prosecution told the court that £2,000 was taken from the account by Hale in October 2013 and used to purchase Post Office shares.

“The account, which at one time had more than £5,000 in it, had smaller sums taken from it by Hale which were moved into an account used to pay for direct debits” says the newspaper.

It reports that Hale told the court she went into the bank and asked for details of her accounts before taking from the one that had the lowest rate of interest. 

She said: “I didn’t take the money deliberately – I would’ve never taken the charity money. I was told by Nationwide it was one of my accounts.”

Simon Nicholls, defending, said his client was a woman of good character who was “perhaps not as methodical as she should’ve been” with her accounts but he urged magistrates to take the view that she was not a dishonest person.

However, the chairman of the bench of magistrates said they were sure that the money transfers were “acts of dishonesty” and found Hale guilty. 

She was sentenced to a community order of 120 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £620 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Humberts’ Norwich office, where Hale worked, is a franchise operation. Its website describes her as organised and used to working to deadlines.”

However, Humberts informed Estate Agent Today over the weekend that Hale had now tendered her resignation from the agency.

A statement from Tim Stephens, director of the Norwich branch, says:

Jane Hale has worked for Humberts in Norwich for nine years as an administrator and latterly as a director of this franchised office. In addition to this work Jane undertakes many other roles in the community and as a trustee to a number of charities. 

Many of the accounts for these bodies are held with the Nationwide; the same bank that she banks with. Requesting a withdrawal for a share purchase, the Nationwide took the money from the wrong account. When the mistake was realised, the money was repaid and Nationwide paid compensation to the charity in recognition of their error.

Irrespective of this, the case was taken to court and Jane was found guilty of taking the money, and as such has offered her resignation as a director of the Norwich office.

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