Charity fraudster jailed at Isleworth Crown Court

The financial controller of two separate non-profit organisations, who defrauded them of £41,955, has been jailed for three years and two months.

Richard David Bobath, 53, of Gerrards Cross, was employed by the British Polio Fellowship (BPF), a registered charity and then the British Institute of Radiology (BIR).

But Isleworth Crown Court was told that he exploited the organisations' lax financial controls of both organisations to transfer thousands of pounds to his own account or abuse their banks cards to pay for foreign trips.

Jailing Bobath, Judge Robert Winstanley told the first-time offender: ‘You are not the slightest bit remorseful for any of this offending. You abused your position of trust and the offending was sophisticated and involved planning.’

Bobath pleaded guilty to one count of defrauding BPF by abuse of position between 16 July and 5 September 2011, and was convicted by a jury of two counts of fraud relating to the BIR between 13 February and 25 October 2012.

The court heard that he started working for the BPF in January 2010 and by March 2011 he was in control of the organisation's financial affairs until he left in September of that year.

An audit following his departure revealed Bobath had re-activated one of the BPF's dormant bank accounts and persuaded an elderly trustee to sign a bank mandate in his favour. He then wrote seven cheques to himself, totalling £17,825.

He was arrested and quizzed by officers at Uxbridge Police Station in January 2012. Meanwhile, Bobath was hired by the BIR in November 2011 as financial manager.

Judge Winstanley said: ‘It was facing insolvency, running at a loss and making people redundant,’ added the judge.

‘There were poor financial controls, which you were hired to sort out, but you took advantage and exploited that to your own ends.’

The court was told that, while the BIR's CEO was on leave, Bobath set-up pre-paid Kalixa credit cards for the finance, admin and events departments and used them to spend £8,500.

‘You used those cards to withdraw cash for yourself, to shop and buy goods at Stansted Airport, in Italy and with P&O Ferries,’ said the judge.

Bobath was sacked in October 2012 after a BPF tip-off to his boss, however, using his old key he gained access to his former office one night and transferred £15,630 to his bank account.

He covered his tracks by forging documents indicating he was owed money by the BIR and sent a bogus email purportedly from his old boss approving the payment.

The married father-of-two has not paid any compensation, but told the court a relative was prepared to cover the losses.

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