According to the Charity Fraud Line the number of frauds perpetrated on charities has increased by 30% in three years, with analysts claiming that more than £2 billion a year is stolen from the sector.
Favourite scams include conning volunteer charity treasurers into believing they were paying for building work done by someone else, and getting them to move monies via online banking, into fraudulent bank accounts run by the scammers. Four children’s football clubs lost nearly £80,000, and Chester Zoo lost £1.26million in 2013 in this way. In the case of the zoo the money was transferred to a bank account in Weston-super-Mare owned by restaurateur Ashid Ali, 40, who then redistributed the money to 28 different accounts owned by three accomplices. All four men received suspended sentences, on the basis that the court heard that they were not the organisers of the scam but some of the implementers.
This wasn’t the case with another scammer caught defrauding charities, Jonathan Louis Rivers. Rivers, 55 from Birmingham ran Wyvern Media, which pressurised its victims, including charities, into buying non-existent or useless advertising, and accordingly Rivers was jailed for six years last October, along with three co-directors who received from 20 to 40 month sentences, and another three co-directors and three members of staff who received suspended sentences. Rivers and his co-directors were also banned from running companies for three to ten years.
According to popular opinion fraudsters who target charities are “the lowest of the low”.