Geoff Hammond was arrested in September after allegations of charity fraud

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ex-councillor jailed for £100k charity fraud Ex-councillor jailed for £100k charity fraud

An ex-Labour councillor who stole almost £100,000 from a Christian charity he was working for has been jailed for 12 months.

Geoff Hammond, who represented the Higham Hill ward from May 2010 until resigning in November when he began to be investigated, admitted fraud through abuse of position last month.

He defrauded The Fellowship of St John Trust Association out of £99,493 while working as the charity’s executive officer between May 29 2012 and August 2013.

He was responsible for the operations and administration of the charity including accounts and records.

He claimed he took the money because he could not meet growing interest on debt repayments for loans and credit cards.

The 50-year-old was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Southwark Crown Court this afternoon.

He said he apologised unreservedly.

A charity spokeswoman said Hammond admitted taking the money on August 5 last year after internal financial controls revealed a substantial figure was unaccounted for.

The spokeswoman added that he has repaid the money and given relevant costs to the trust.

Hammond, of Sollershott East in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, was arrested in September.

The Fellowship of St John Trust Association runs educational projects in the UK and abroad.

The charity is expected to issue a statement later today.

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3:59pm Thu 9 Jan 14

mdj says...

Despite being managed almost solely by ministers of religion without special financial training, this small trust discovered Hammond's thieving within a few months - possibly because he stole more than 1% of the entire value of the organisation!
Throughout this period Hammond was a trusted figure in the Labour Party, having been a candidate prior to his election.

This is acutely worrying. Despite employing many specialist financial staff, Waltham Forest was unable to account for over £11 million of public money - the Better Neighbourhoods Initiative funding - a few years ago. Several scandals concerning the handling of possibly more than this in total have emerged in this Borough since.
In the Olympic year, the Olympia Market fiasco exposed a massive conflict of interest by an official commercially engaged in a Council-sponsored operation he was supposedly supervising in the general interest. He pretended to resign for a short period, but suffered no other penalty, and business as usual resumed. The company he was involved in went into hasty liquidation, holding large funds entrusted to it by small businesspeople on this Council's recommendation.

Had Hammond directed his thieving instincts towards the much larger sums controlled by this Council, which is led by his close colleagues and managed by financial controllers of proven incompetence, how much might he have escaped with?
What else is going on at this very moment?

Will we get the benefit of a statement from the Labour Party, of which he was a trusted and hand-picked representative?
Despite being managed almost solely by ministers of religion without special financial training, this small trust discovered Hammond's thieving within a few months - possibly because he stole more than 1% of the entire value of the organisation! Throughout this period Hammond was a trusted figure in the Labour Party, having been a candidate prior to his election. This is acutely worrying. Despite employing many specialist financial staff, Waltham Forest was unable to account for over £11 million of public money - the Better Neighbourhoods Initiative funding - a few years ago. Several scandals concerning the handling of possibly more than this in total have emerged in this Borough since. In the Olympic year, the Olympia Market fiasco exposed a massive conflict of interest by an official commercially engaged in a Council-sponsored operation he was supposedly supervising in the general interest. He pretended to resign for a short period, but suffered no other penalty, and business as usual resumed. The company he was involved in went into hasty liquidation, holding large funds entrusted to it by small businesspeople on this Council's recommendation. Had Hammond directed his thieving instincts towards the much larger sums controlled by this Council, which is led by his close colleagues and managed by financial controllers of proven incompetence, how much might he have escaped with? What else is going on at this very moment? Will we get the benefit of a statement from the Labour Party, of which he was a trusted and hand-picked representative? mdj
  • Score: 11

4:46pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Thunderbird4 says...

They're fireproof. They've been down in the basement and got covered in asbestos dust as they were taking sensitive documents to the incinerator.
They're fireproof. They've been down in the basement and got covered in asbestos dust as they were taking sensitive documents to the incinerator. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 10

11:36pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Varney The Onion says...

Councillor Geoff Hammond a thief
Councillor Imran Abrahim assaults his teenaged bride
Councillor Miranda Grell a homophobic bigot
Councillor Anna Mbachu threatens her chauffeur with assault
Councillor Liaquat Ali fined for taking his child from school during term time
Councillor Afzal Akram attempts to pressure the planning committee to assure a favourable outcome for his cronies. Though this is the least of his crimes if the rumours are to be believed.

Is this the most crooked council in all of the land?
Councillor Geoff Hammond a thief Councillor Imran Abrahim assaults his teenaged bride Councillor Miranda Grell a homophobic bigot Councillor Anna Mbachu threatens her chauffeur with assault Councillor Liaquat Ali fined for taking his child from school during term time Councillor Afzal Akram attempts to pressure the planning committee to assure a favourable outcome for his cronies. Though this is the least of his crimes if the rumours are to be believed. Is this the most crooked council in all of the land? Varney The Onion
  • Score: 13

8:29am Fri 10 Jan 14

NTiratsoo says...

Great list, Varney.
You could add Cllr. Wedderburn:
http://www.guardian-
series.co.uk/news/99
85868.WALTHAM_FOREST
__Councillor_admits_
swearing_at_competit
ion_winner/
Great list, Varney. You could add Cllr. Wedderburn: http://www.guardian- series.co.uk/news/99 85868.WALTHAM_FOREST __Councillor_admits_ swearing_at_competit ion_winner/ NTiratsoo
  • Score: 6

5:43pm Fri 10 Jan 14

mdj says...

Wasn't there also another Tory councillor who overclaimed benefits?
It seems that being a councillor is a very high-risk category for offending - about 100 times higher than for the population as a whole.
And this doesn't even allow for what doesn't get found out!
Perhaps they should all be tagged, for everyone else's protection.
Wasn't there also another Tory councillor who overclaimed benefits? It seems that being a councillor is a very high-risk category for offending - about 100 times higher than for the population as a whole. And this doesn't even allow for what doesn't get found out! Perhaps they should all be tagged, for everyone else's protection. mdj
  • Score: 4

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