Charity boss jailed after stealing £170,000

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LONDON: The finance manager of a charity for vulnerable people siphoned off more than £170,000 for herself.  Rushna Choudhury, 46, used bogus invoices to swindle the money out of the Social Interest Group for more than a year. 

According to an Evening Standard report, Blackfriars crown court heard the deputy chief executive resigned when Choudhury’s dishonesty was uncovered, and innocent staff members had been suspended in the hunt for the culprit. 

Choudhury had used her colleagues’ log-in details to raid the charity’s funds, and made 24 separate transfers to bank accounts held by her and her son. Choudhury, from Gravesend in Kent, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

Sentencing her to four-and-a-half years, Judge Alexander Milne QC told Choudhury she is “somebody who seeks to manipulate the system”. He said: “You were employed in a position of responsibility and the fraud was sophisticated, involved substitution of invoices, [and] left a trail that covered yourself. You did it to enrich yourself. 

The fraud cost it more than £300,000, including the price of hiring staff to cover the jobs of those who were suspended during the investigation.

The court heard that Choudhury hid in her shed and claimed to have taken an overdose when police went to arrest her. They also found designer goods at her home. She had been given the charity role despite a previous conviction for defrauding a housing organisation out of £77,750, and said she stole money to pay off that previous debt.