Glasgow & West Scotland

Child charity fraudster Karen Fraser spared jail

A woman who was convicted of fraud after donations failed to reach a children's charity has been told to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.

Karen Fraser, 49, organised an event at a Glasgow hotel in 2013 at which cash was sought for Sean's Trust - a charity in memory of a stillborn child.

Despite cash of up to £1,200 being collected, no cash reached the trust.

Fraser, from Larbert, denied making any pledge but was convicted after people at the event gave evidence against her.

Betrayed trust

Imposing a community payback order at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Sheriff Neil MacKinnon told Fraser: "In perpetrating this offence you betrayed the trust of those who were entitled to expect substantial honesty from you."

The court previously heard that Fraser, who helped run a local newspaper, had organised a community awards event at Glasgow's Crowne Plaza Hotel in October 2013.

It was attended by local councillors and police as well as Linda Croker, who had set up Sean's Trust in the name of her stillborn son.

Envelopes were put on each table for those attending to donate cash.

Glasgow Labour Councillor Martin McElroy, who was at the event, told the court: "The minimum suggested was £10, but I know a lot of people put more in.

"She (Fraser) said all the money that was raised in the envelopes would go to Sean's Trust."

The court was also told that an announcement was then made by the compere that any funds raised would go to the charity.

Paula McMullen - a former employee of Fraser - also recalled Fraser telling her "before and after the event" the funds would be donated to the charity.

'Company event'

It is believed about £1,200 was raised.

Fraser claimed during her trial that any cash handed over was for a "prize raffle" and any suggestions about a pledge to Sean's Trust were "lies".

"The money went into the bank account. It was a company event," she said.

The court went on to hear how Fraser made up to 16 trips a year to Portugal.

Prosecutor Elaine Jackson put it to her: "You were living a lifestyle that your income could not support?"

She replied: "I certainly did not take money from charities to fund my lifestyle."

In her summing up, Ms Jackson told the court: "She candidly tells us that she went to Portugal 15-16 times (a year).

"This gives us an idea as to why this crime took place."

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