A FINANCIAL assistant who stole just over £113,000 while working for a disabled charity has been jailed after a judge heard that her offending had hit its activities.
Bhupinder Kaur, 25, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after she used some of the money stolen from Bradford-based charity Bradnet, which works with the disabled, to buy two cars with personalised number plates and other “luxury goods.”
Recorder Bernard Gateshill told Kaur, of West Park Drive West, Roundhay, Leeds, that she had abused her position of trust at the charity and he referred to a letter from its chairman which detailed the “practical difficulties” caused by the thefts.
“There was a significant adverse effect upon their operations,” said Recorder Gateshill.
“Indeed the amount that you misappropriated in the course of misconduct stretching over many months was 60 per cent of the yearly available surplus that they could apply to local causes.”
The charity released a statement after the hearing which said Kaur’s actions demonstrated a complete disregard for the charity’s finances and ultimately those disabled people most in need of its support.
The judge accepted that pregnant Kaur was a woman of previous good character and she had shown genuine remorse, but he said the only real mitigation in the case was her guilty plea.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday how Kaur began stealing £6,000 at a time from the charity in May last year, but by January this year she was taking sums in excess of £14,000.
Her offending came to light while she was suspended from her post for an unrelated matter and she was arrested in connection with the missing money in February. She pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
During the police inquiry a BMW 335i and a Renault Clio Sport were seized and a bank account containing just over £17,000 was also restrained.
Barrister Matthew Harding, for Kaur, said she had been spending money on a lavish lifestyle and it was now in the cold light of day that she realised the folly of what she had done.
The court heard that Kaur had suffered health difficulties and there were concerns about her welfare during pregnancy.
“Not only does she have the impact of the proceedings in terms of her family and her future, but also the very real prospect of giving birth to her child whilst in custody,” said Mr Harding.
The court was told at an earlier hearing that Kaur would also face proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act in an attempt to claw the money back.
In a statement issued after yesterday’s hearing Bradnet said: “The charity is pleased to see that justice has been done today. Bradnet has been working to support the lives of disabled people in Bradford for over 10 years, and is reliant on charitable donations and public funds to carry out our vital work.
“Although none of the money stolen by Bhupinder Kaur was from public funds, her selfish actions demonstrated a complete disregard for the charity’s finances, and ultimately those disabled people who are most in need of our support. Bradnet will now be working with the police to seek full recovery of funds from Ms Kaur.
“We are very grateful for the support that has been shown to us by many public institutions and individuals throughout this period.
“The charity continues to expand, and we are looking forward to increasing our services and support to the thousands of disabled people in Bradford who wish to lead full and independent lives,” the statement added.