A former PA to the chief executive of Mencap, who racked up hundreds of pounds worth of debt on the charity’s credit card during trips to Tenerife and splashed thousands on personal taxis, has been spared a prison sentence.
Asra Yildiz, 32, also took more than £3,000 of personal Addison Lee rides, abusing her access to Mencap’s account with the minicab firm.
Yildiz was caught red handed in April 2014 when she accidentally gave the phone number of her boss – chief executive Jan Tregelles – when booking a taxi from a bar in Islington, sparking an internal audit.
She was initially accused of spending more than £34,000 of Mencap’s funds, a charge she denied, but she did plead guilty to fraud by abuse of position when prosecutors scaled back the allegations.
Prosecutor Richard Mandel told the court: “There can be no question of expenditure incurred abroad being anything to do with Mencap business. It is basically spending on restaurants, supermarket trips, and taxi rides.”
He said Yildiz had been “a model and outstandingly hard-working employee” until the fraud was discovered.
Judge Peter Clarke QC sentenced her to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He ordered her to complete 120 hours of community service and to pay back £3,600 to the charity within the 18 months, adding: “It must go back to the charity so they can spend it on people who need it.”
Mencap said it was “deeply saddened”, adding that Yildiz “was in a position of trust, a position that she abused, falsifying expenses and other claims for personal gain. Mencap has reviewed the robustness of its oversight systems as a result of this incident and wants to re-assure its donors and supporters that all steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence”.
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