Entertainment & Arts

Former Royal Academy of Music employee admits fraud

Royal Academy of Music
Image caption The Royal Academy of Music was founded in 1822

The former finance director at the Royal Academy of Music has admitted defrauding the institution of more than £200,000 over a four-year period.

Janet Whitehouse, 56, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

These included claiming money for work she did not carry out and arranging for her son to live in accommodation owned by the Academy rent-free.

She will be sentenced at a later date at Southwark Crown Court.

Whitehouse took nearly £100,000 in three lump sums which she claimed had been approved by the college's chairman Lord Terence Burns, the court heard on Wednesday.

She also submitted false invoices for nearly £104,000 worth of work she claimed to have carried out for the Academy.

'Irregularities'

In a statement on its website, the Royal Academy said that in February 2011 "internal financial control systems [had ] identified apparent financial irregularities".

This led to two former employees being charged by the Crown Prosecution Service: Janet Whitehouse and, in an unrelated case, Steven Newell.

Mr Newell, the Academy's former head of information, also appeared in court on Wednesday to face fraud charges.

He is accused of providing false documents in order to obtain his position and producing false invoices worth £437,408.

Mr Newell, 29, did not enter a plea to the two counts of fraud and was bailed until a committal hearing on 13 June.

Based on London's Marylebone Road, the Royal Academy offers training for soloists, chamber and orchestral musicians, conductors, opera singers and composers.

Founded in 1822, its famous former students include Sir Elton John, Annie Lennox and Lesley Garrett, now one of its trustees.

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