Geoff Hammond abused his position as charity's executive officer to gain tens of thousands of pounds

Geoff Hammond abused his position to defraud a charity

Geoff Hammond abused his position to defraud a charity

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A former Labour councillor is facing jail after admitting abusing his position to defraud a charity out of almost £100,000.

Geoff Hammond, 50, who represented Higham Hill ward in Walthamstow, admitted the offence during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday.

Between May 29 2012 and August of this year, Hammond held the position of executive officer of The Fellowship of St John Trust Assocaition.  

During the period, Hammond committed fraud through abuse of his position at the Christian charity and stole £99, 493.

Following the charge last  month, Hammond stepped down from his position of councillor for Higham Hill ward in Walthamstow.

A spokeswoman for The Fellowship of St John Trust Association said: "Geoffrey Hammond was the executive officer of the charity, the Fellowship of St John (UK) Trust Association from May 2012 to August 2013.

"The internal financial controls of the charity identified that a substantial amount of money was unaccounted for.

"On August 5 Mr Hammond admitted that he had taken the money and he was immediately dismissed for gross misconduct.

"Mr Hammond was arrested in September and pleaded guilty to the theft at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week. 

"Mr Hammond has now repaid all the money taken and costs to date to the Trust."

The Fellowship of St John (UK) Trust Association is a charity that works internationally and across the UK in the areas of Christian education, pastoral care and mission.

Hammond was elected to represent Higham Hill ward in May 2010, achieving 14 per cent of the vote, and held the position until October 2013.

Hammond, of Sollershott East in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, was granted unconditional bail and is scheduled to appear at Southwark Crown Court for sentencing on January 9.

 

Comments (17)

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1:00pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

That is why I do not trust 'Charedees!'

I cringe when I see all those people out on the streets bleating and holding open buckets, where unsuspecting people put their hard earned cash in, tugging on heart strings 'sick kids, Africa, abandoned animals' and so on. Who knows who these people are? Who can identify a real Licence to Collect on the street?

Street collections should be authorised by the Police, hardly any of them ever get such authority. If it does get to where it is intended there seems to be people in there with light fingers like this Labour Councillor, who previously went around despising the rich and claiming that Labour wanted to help the poor.

I hope he gets locked up for a long time.

Where is Stella Creasy? Is she going to publicly denounce this man?
That is why I do not trust 'Charedees!' I cringe when I see all those people out on the streets bleating and holding open buckets, where unsuspecting people put their hard earned cash in, tugging on heart strings 'sick kids, Africa, abandoned animals' and so on. Who knows who these people are? Who can identify a real Licence to Collect on the street? Street collections should be authorised by the Police, hardly any of them ever get such authority. If it does get to where it is intended there seems to be people in there with light fingers like this Labour Councillor, who previously went around despising the rich and claiming that Labour wanted to help the poor. I hope he gets locked up for a long time. Where is Stella Creasy? Is she going to publicly denounce this man? Billy Yerache
  • Score: 19

3:20pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Don't Give Up says...

So he stepped down after being found out. If my understanding is correct that a councillor has to live in the Borough in which he is elected to represent, how come he did not resign when he moved to Hertfordshire? Surely the Council must know where a councillor lives.
So he stepped down after being found out. If my understanding is correct that a councillor has to live in the Borough in which he is elected to represent, how come he did not resign when he moved to Hertfordshire? Surely the Council must know where a councillor lives. Don't Give Up
  • Score: 18

4:06pm Mon 16 Dec 13

mdj says...

It's interesting to see how Labour only suspended him after he was charged, quite a while after he was arrested first. This means that there cannot be an election in his ward before the full local elections next year.
Not much respect for the electors there.

Is this the same Geoff Hammond, formerly of Pearl Road, who was for several years director at East London Advanced Technology Training, one of those entities that spend public money on the frontiers of charity and business?
Have we heard the end of this story?

Do other readers wonder why it is that the selection procedures of all our political parties throw up characters who have a much higher likelihood of falling foul of the criminal law than the population as a whole?
Could it be that there is something about our political culture that attracts such people?
Would the financial controls at the Council have been effective enough to detect the loss of £100,000, considering that £11 million of Better Neighbourhoods Initiative funds remain unaccounted for?

Have the Labour Party any comment to make on their trusted colleague's difficulty? Will there be a campaign for 'Justice for Higham Hill Ward', as with Miranda Grell?
It's interesting to see how Labour only suspended him after he was charged, quite a while after he was arrested first. This means that there cannot be an election in his ward before the full local elections next year. Not much respect for the electors there. Is this the same Geoff Hammond, formerly of Pearl Road, who was for several years director at East London Advanced Technology Training, one of those entities that spend public money on the frontiers of charity and business? Have we heard the end of this story? Do other readers wonder why it is that the selection procedures of all our political parties throw up characters who have a much higher likelihood of falling foul of the criminal law than the population as a whole? Could it be that there is something about our political culture that attracts such people? Would the financial controls at the Council have been effective enough to detect the loss of £100,000, considering that £11 million of Better Neighbourhoods Initiative funds remain unaccounted for? Have the Labour Party any comment to make on their trusted colleague's difficulty? Will there be a campaign for 'Justice for Higham Hill Ward', as with Miranda Grell? mdj
  • Score: 18

5:57pm Mon 16 Dec 13

mdj says...

Can we also correct the headline? Hammond was very much NOT an ex-councillor while he was thieving.
Can we also correct the headline? Hammond was very much NOT an ex-councillor while he was thieving. mdj
  • Score: 17

6:09pm Mon 16 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

"It's interesting to see how Labour only suspended him after he was charged, quite a while after he was arrested first"

Nope that's not interesting it's normal. Thankfully we don't live in a country where arrest equals automatic assumption of guilt. A charge implies there is evidence of guilt and at this point action against the charged might be considered reasonable.
"It's interesting to see how Labour only suspended him after he was charged, quite a while after he was arrested first" Nope that's not interesting it's normal. Thankfully we don't live in a country where arrest equals automatic assumption of guilt. A charge implies there is evidence of guilt and at this point action against the charged might be considered reasonable. stickmanny
  • Score: -6

6:58pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

stickmanny wrote:
"It's interesting to see how Labour only suspended him after he was charged, quite a while after he was arrested first" Nope that's not interesting it's normal. Thankfully we don't live in a country where arrest equals automatic assumption of guilt. A charge implies there is evidence of guilt and at this point action against the charged might be considered reasonable.
Rubbish.

Police Officers and MP's like Mitchell are routinely suspended without any conclusive proof.
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: "It's interesting to see how Labour only suspended him after he was charged, quite a while after he was arrested first" Nope that's not interesting it's normal. Thankfully we don't live in a country where arrest equals automatic assumption of guilt. A charge implies there is evidence of guilt and at this point action against the charged might be considered reasonable.[/p][/quote]Rubbish. Police Officers and MP's like Mitchell are routinely suspended without any conclusive proof. Billy Yerache
  • Score: 11

7:54pm Mon 16 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

And a travesty of justice that often turns out to be.

Can you actually read? Did you ever read AND understand anything I've ever written?
And a travesty of justice that often turns out to be. Can you actually read? Did you ever read AND understand anything I've ever written? stickmanny
  • Score: -5

8:55pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

stickmanny wrote:
And a travesty of justice that often turns out to be.

Can you actually read? Did you ever read AND understand anything I've ever written?
Yes like the Police being stitched up and suspended and Andrew Mitchel being stitched up by the Police,

In answer to your silly questions, yes I can read and most of the time I cannot understand what you write as it is generally a load of leftie waffle, embellished in denial of how much damage the champagne socialist have done to the Country, with overspending, mass immigration and socially engineering the young into worthless university courses, thus leaving Eastern Europe to supply the country with our workforce as all our youngsters have been brainwashed to become X factor superstars and hopeless film makers instead of carpenters, electricians, engineers and so on.
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: And a travesty of justice that often turns out to be. Can you actually read? Did you ever read AND understand anything I've ever written?[/p][/quote]Yes like the Police being stitched up and suspended and Andrew Mitchel being stitched up by the Police, In answer to your silly questions, yes I can read and most of the time I cannot understand what you write as it is generally a load of leftie waffle, embellished in denial of how much damage the champagne socialist have done to the Country, with overspending, mass immigration and socially engineering the young into worthless university courses, thus leaving Eastern Europe to supply the country with our workforce as all our youngsters have been brainwashed to become X factor superstars and hopeless film makers instead of carpenters, electricians, engineers and so on. Billy Yerache
  • Score: 9

9:00pm Mon 16 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

go away I'm trying to watch the telly
go away I'm trying to watch the telly stickmanny
  • Score: -12

11:59pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Robert19 says...

Don't Give Up wrote:
So he stepped down after being found out. If my understanding is correct that a councillor has to live in the Borough in which he is elected to represent, how come he did not resign when he moved to Hertfordshire? Surely the Council must know where a councillor lives.
As long as the person lives in the local authority area at the time of election then they are there for the duration regardless of where they live. A silly rule as they clearly cannot represent their constituents properly. That goes for MPS as well who don't have to live in the constituency at time of election but some often pretend to do so. The only way of getting rid of councillors is if they don't turn up to any meetings for six months (I believe).
[quote][p][bold]Don't Give Up[/bold] wrote: So he stepped down after being found out. If my understanding is correct that a councillor has to live in the Borough in which he is elected to represent, how come he did not resign when he moved to Hertfordshire? Surely the Council must know where a councillor lives.[/p][/quote]As long as the person lives in the local authority area at the time of election then they are there for the duration regardless of where they live. A silly rule as they clearly cannot represent their constituents properly. That goes for MPS as well who don't have to live in the constituency at time of election but some often pretend to do so. The only way of getting rid of councillors is if they don't turn up to any meetings for six months (I believe). Robert19
  • Score: 8

12:45am Tue 17 Dec 13

RayJay says...

I am posting a comment here as I, and everyone else, have been censored by the Guardian, so that no-one is allowed to comment under the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol".
I struggle to decide which the worst crime is, stealing from charity, or threats of violence against law abiding citizens. I quote "telling owners they faced "40 lashes" if they continued to sell "evil" alcohol", or even inciting racial disharmony, I quote again "We cannot live among the non-Muslims and let this evil take place", and branded Brick Lane a "den of iniquity".
What I don't struggle with, however, is my total abhorrence of censorship.
GUARDIAN please explain who decided that no comments were allowed on the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol" and why.
It is this type of blatant censorship and editorial control that causes mistrust within the community and furthers racial hatred.
I am posting a comment here as I, and everyone else, have been censored by the Guardian, so that no-one is allowed to comment under the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol". I struggle to decide which the worst crime is, stealing from charity, or threats of violence against law abiding citizens. I quote "telling owners they faced "40 lashes" if they continued to sell "evil" alcohol", or even inciting racial disharmony, I quote again "We cannot live among the non-Muslims and let this evil take place", and branded Brick Lane a "den of iniquity". What I don't struggle with, however, is my total abhorrence of censorship. GUARDIAN please explain who decided that no comments were allowed on the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol" and why. It is this type of blatant censorship and editorial control that causes mistrust within the community and furthers racial hatred. RayJay
  • Score: 18

2:10am Tue 17 Dec 13

mdj says...

'GUARDIAN please explain who decided that no comments were allowed on the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol" and why.'

Comments were allowed on one of the first reports of this story (I made one) and then removed, presumably because it was feared they might be held as prejudicial while legal proceedings were incomplete.
Another problem with Choudary is the torrent of angry comments that may be unleashed on to the paper's site faster than they can be moderated for possibly racist, libellous or legally contentious content.

The paper would suffer more than any of us would in such a case, so their caution has a reason, even if we may find it frustrating. Curiously, the site doesn't seem set up for pre-moderation: it may be a simple question of staffing levels.
'GUARDIAN please explain who decided that no comments were allowed on the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol" and why.' Comments were allowed on one of the first reports of this story (I made one) and then removed, presumably because it was feared they might be held as prejudicial while legal proceedings were incomplete. Another problem with Choudary is the torrent of angry comments that may be unleashed on to the paper's site faster than they can be moderated for possibly racist, libellous or legally contentious content. The paper would suffer more than any of us would in such a case, so their caution has a reason, even if we may find it frustrating. Curiously, the site doesn't seem set up for pre-moderation: it may be a simple question of staffing levels. mdj
  • Score: 3

2:52am Tue 17 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

mdj wrote:
'GUARDIAN please explain who decided that no comments were allowed on the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol" and why.'

Comments were allowed on one of the first reports of this story (I made one) and then removed, presumably because it was feared they might be held as prejudicial while legal proceedings were incomplete.
Another problem with Choudary is the torrent of angry comments that may be unleashed on to the paper's site faster than they can be moderated for possibly racist, libellous or legally contentious content.

The paper would suffer more than any of us would in such a case, so their caution has a reason, even if we may find it frustrating. Curiously, the site doesn't seem set up for pre-moderation: it may be a simple question of staffing levels.
I wonder what would happen if people protested outside an Asian butchers, protesting about halal slaughtering methods, whether people would be censored from commenting.

What is strange regarding the 'Brick Lane Choudary case is that it has been widely reported in National Newspapers and attracted numerous online comments. Also it is well known from his peers at the time that Choudary himself enthusiastically enjoyed drinking alcohol in his younger days as well as other endulgences that he now claims to despise as being 'against Islam'.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: 'GUARDIAN please explain who decided that no comments were allowed on the news story "Hate preacher organises march denouncing alcohol" and why.' Comments were allowed on one of the first reports of this story (I made one) and then removed, presumably because it was feared they might be held as prejudicial while legal proceedings were incomplete. Another problem with Choudary is the torrent of angry comments that may be unleashed on to the paper's site faster than they can be moderated for possibly racist, libellous or legally contentious content. The paper would suffer more than any of us would in such a case, so their caution has a reason, even if we may find it frustrating. Curiously, the site doesn't seem set up for pre-moderation: it may be a simple question of staffing levels.[/p][/quote]I wonder what would happen if people protested outside an Asian butchers, protesting about halal slaughtering methods, whether people would be censored from commenting. What is strange regarding the 'Brick Lane Choudary case is that it has been widely reported in National Newspapers and attracted numerous online comments. Also it is well known from his peers at the time that Choudary himself enthusiastically enjoyed drinking alcohol in his younger days as well as other endulgences that he now claims to despise as being 'against Islam'. Billy Yerache
  • Score: 11

12:19pm Tue 17 Dec 13

mdj says...

Personally, I can't wait to see how Waltham Forest News - fondly known to its fans as 'Pravda' - handles this good-news story.
Personally, I can't wait to see how Waltham Forest News - fondly known to its fans as 'Pravda' - handles this good-news story. mdj
  • Score: 10

12:26pm Tue 17 Dec 13

HottRedMan says...

Ridiculous, this councillor should be hanged for his crime, what a shame to the neighbourhood.
Ridiculous, this councillor should be hanged for his crime, what a shame to the neighbourhood. HottRedMan
  • Score: 2

3:28pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Robert19 says...

HottRedMan wrote:
Ridiculous, this councillor should be hanged for his crime, what a shame to the neighbourhood.
What would you recommend the punishment ought to be for parking on a double yellow line I wonder!
[quote][p][bold]HottRedMan[/bold] wrote: Ridiculous, this councillor should be hanged for his crime, what a shame to the neighbourhood.[/p][/quote]What would you recommend the punishment ought to be for parking on a double yellow line I wonder! Robert19
  • Score: 3

9:13am Tue 7 Jan 14

Walthamster says...

Robert19 wrote:
HottRedMan wrote:
Ridiculous, this councillor should be hanged for his crime, what a shame to the neighbourhood.
What would you recommend the punishment ought to be for parking on a double yellow line I wonder!
Robert - defrauding a charity is very much worse than a parking offence.

We get punch-drunk in this borough, seeing overpaid councillors and council officers getting away with -- to put it mildly -- laziness, negligence and dishonesty. Many millions of pounds have "gone missing" from council funds, and have never been accounted for. In most cases the wrong-doers get away with it. In this case, one has been brought to justice.

What this case tells me is that charities have better auditing practices than councils. If only the loss of public money was taken so seriously.
[quote][p][bold]Robert19[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]HottRedMan[/bold] wrote: Ridiculous, this councillor should be hanged for his crime, what a shame to the neighbourhood.[/p][/quote]What would you recommend the punishment ought to be for parking on a double yellow line I wonder![/p][/quote]Robert - defrauding a charity is very much worse than a parking offence. We get punch-drunk in this borough, seeing overpaid councillors and council officers getting away with -- to put it mildly -- laziness, negligence and dishonesty. Many millions of pounds have "gone missing" from council funds, and have never been accounted for. In most cases the wrong-doers get away with it. In this case, one has been brought to justice. What this case tells me is that charities have better auditing practices than councils. If only the loss of public money was taken so seriously. Walthamster
  • Score: 3

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