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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Poll: Is two years too harsh a sentence for stealing £360,000 from a charity?

This poll is over 6 years old

A payroll manager who embezzled nearly £360,000 from the British Red Cross has been jailed for more than two years.

Mary Booth pretended to make payments to international delegates and charity employees at the organisation where she had worked for 34 years.

Instead she was transferring the money into her own bank accounts.

She will have sell her £350,000 home to pay back the money – and there has been some debate on TFN's website about whether a jail term was approporiate.

That's why we're asking: is two years too harsh a sentence for stealing £360,000 from a charity?

Vote now and get the debate going by leaving a comment below.

Is two years too harsh a sentence for stealing £360,000 from a charity?

Voting in this poll has now closed


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over 6 years ago
This isn't black or white. Each case should be looked at separately and the circumstances fully considered, such as addictions and mental health issues. We're too quick in this country to dish out harsh punishments for offences of financial impropriety.
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Janice Gemmell
over 6 years ago
Embezzlement is another word for theft. Most charities struggle to obtain funding. The Red Cross is supported by people who want to contribute to humanitarian aid and provide support for those who struggle or are oppressed. Why would a two year jail term be too harsh - people have been jailed for longer for less serious crimes. This individual made a conscious decision to "embezzle" this money , she took that money away from where it was needed therefore there are vulnerable people around the globe who have been denied the support that £360,000 would have given them. She has been living a very comfortable life in a house worth £350,000 at the expense of people less fortunate.
0 0
over 6 years ago
2 years was not enough. In reply to John a pre-sentence report would have been asked for and the Sheriff would take all the factors into account when sentencing. Financial impropriety is just as serious as other types of crime.
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Common sense
over 6 years ago
Circumstances should have been taken into account, this lady had an addiction that started after the breakdown of her marriage. Previous to this she worked for the Red Cross for 30 plus years with an unblemished record. She then admitted what she did wrong and offered to sell her property and pay back in full. Whilst this is theft there are numerous criminals that have a record as long as your arm that don't get two years and never pay back anything. I agree with John community service or along those lines would have been a better option. She is not going to re offend as would not get a job in that industry again and she is not a danger to society so I do not believe there was any point giving a custodial sentence. Our prisons are over run and the tax payers money should be spent in a much better way like offering counselling for gambling addiction or marriage breakdown.
0 0
over 6 years ago
If she was male, the sentence would have been around 3 1/2 to 4 years.
0 0
over 6 years ago
I wonder what sentence the charity embezzler from Edinburgh will get? She stole a similar amount of cash but blamed it on developing an interest in horse-riding, which is a classic excuse! I bet she gets off much more lightly.
Commenting is now closed on this post