Finance Manager Stole £62,000 from Grenfell Victims’ Fund for Online Gambling and Holidays
A finance manager of the Kensington and Chelsea Council has pleaded guilty to stealing £62,000 from a fund meant for surviving victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Jenny McDonagh has admitted acquiring money from the fund using pre-paid credit cards over a period of 11 months. According to prosecutors, The 39-year-old spent the stolen money on holidays to Dubai, LA and Iceland. The money has also been spent on expensive meals, hair appointments and online gambling.
The former council employee pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud, one of theft and one of money laundering at Westminster Magistrates Court last Thursday. During the period of October 2017 to August 2018, when McDonagh committed the crime, the woman was responsible for managing the financial support intended for survivors of the Grenfell fire, which took 72 lives last year in June.
“The Crown Prosecution believes Mrs McDonagh is someone who is a serial fraudster who lives beyond her means, gambles and really has little or no control over her spending.” said prosecutor Robert Simpson. He went on and revealed that the problem gambler was believed to have lost approximately £16,000 of the stolen money playing at online casinos.
The woman was arrested by police earlier this month but she still continued to spend the stolen funds. Simpson described her actions as an “ongoing breach of trust”.
It is also believed that from November 2015 to June 2016, McDonagh has taken £35,000 from the NHS Trust in Kent during her employment as the head of payable accounts.
McDonagh has been granted conditional bail and is due to be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court later this month.
Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot described the crime McDonagh had committed as “a course of dishonesty” and ordered her to leave her current job as a finance officer at a mental health charity.