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Finance director swindled his own charity

Homelessness charity boss betrayed 'high position of trust'

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

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A HOMELESSNESS charity’s finance manager fleeced the organisation of thousands of pounds in order to line his own pockets.

The charity, Launchpad, aims to find accommodation for the homeless in Reading.

But Adrian James Pearson, of Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common, siphoned off nearly £26,000 into his own bank account.

Last Thursday, the 46-year-old appeared in the dock at Reading Magistrates’ Court where he admitted two charges of fraud between November 2016 and May last year.

Anne Sawyer-Brandish, prosecuting, said that, as finance manager, Mr Pearson had been able to divert cheques from housing providers intended for charitable purposes.

Ms Sawyer-Brandish conceded that Mr Pearson, who has no previous convictions, has since repaid the missing cash with interest.

But she reminded the court of the “high position of trust” he had betrayed and the large sums involved.

Simon Hammudi, defending, said his client had made “full and frank admissions” when challenged by police.

In light of Mr Pearson’s previous good character, Mr Hammudi suggested the court might be able to suspend any custodial sentence.

But district judge Emma Russell said: “He wasn’t just in a position of trust – he was in a high position of trust.”

She told Mr Pearson she was therefore committing him to the crown court at Reading for sentencing.

Mr Pearson was meanwhile released on unconditional bail.

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