"You should not have been trusted ever again with other people’s money."
Finance manager of a charity, Rushna Choudhury, aged, 46, who fraudulently claimed over £170,000 for herself with a scam involving fake invoices has been jailed.
The charity which is based in Islington, London, called Social Interest Group, helps vulnerable people by offering support to other charities who assist people with mental health problems, disability, homelessness and abuse of substances.
Choudhury from Gravesend in Kent created the scheme of fake invoices and swindled the money out of the charity for over a year.
Her trial at Blackfriars crown court provided an insight into the case.
Using a colleague’s login details, Choudhury achieved access to the funds of the charity. She then made 24 bank transfers separately to accounts in her name and of her son.
Choudhury committed the fraud between June 2016 and August 2017 and stole £171,933 from the charity.
This was not the first time Choudhury had committed such a fraud. She had a previous conviction of stealing £77,750 from a housing organisation but was still given this job in good faith.
She said she stole this money to pay off that debt.
It was revealed that the deputy chief of the charity resigned from his post when Choudhury was discovered as the culprit. Especially, because in order to find the culprit, staff members who were innocent but suspected were also suspended by him.
The fraud cost the charity over £300,000.
This included cover staff to do the jobs of those suspended when the investigation took place.
After being identified as the fraudster, police went to arrest the finance manager at her home. The court heard that Choudhury was hiding in her shed and said that she had taken an overdose. Officers found purchases of designer goods at her home.
Her defence lawyer, Susan Wright, said:
“The reality of having to pay that money back and no means, even though given a second chance, meant she became increasingly panicked and saw the only way out was to do what she did before.”
Choudhury pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on May 28, 2019.
Sentencing her Judge Alexander Milne QC told Choudhury that she is “somebody who seeks to manipulate the system”. He added:
“You poisoned the atmosphere and are responsible for the deputy chief executive ending his employment because he felt responsible that under his watch you had been stealing from a charity that helped those in need.”
“You should not have been trusted ever again with other people’s money.
“You defrauded a previous employer. The sentence you received was lenient and you went out rapidly and began doing the same thing again.”