'Winter wonderland' Corby fraudster fined after withholding fundraiser cash from cancer charity

She's been ordered to pay it back as compensation

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 8:56 am
Northampton Magistrates' Court

A charity fundraiser who withheld donated cash from Macmillan Cancer Support has been ordered to hand it over and fined after admitting fraud.

Corby woman Sharon Tomkins ran a 'winter wonderland' event in 2018 and told the cancer charity she was hosting it to try and raise funds for them.

She raised £254, telling the charity she was disappointed with the total, but ignored repeated requests from them over 18 months to hand it over.

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Macmillan became so frustrated they took the unusual step of privately prosecuting the 33-year-old because of the "lack of willingness" by authorities to look at the fraud the charity suffers.

This week at a sentencing hearing at Northampton Magistrates' Court Tomkins was fined £333 and told to pay compensation of £254 and a surcharge to fund victim services of £33.

The 33-year-old, of Carltonwood Close, admitted charges of theft and fraud by abuse of position after being summonsed to appear before magistrates.

A previous hearing heard how Tomkins contacted Macmillan Cancer Support on August 21, 2018, to register to hold an event to raise money for them.

Prosecutor John Crawford said: "She was sent two boxes and said she was going to run a winter wonderland fundraiser.

"In a call on January 3 the following year between Tomkins and a fundraising supervisor, she told them they had raised £254.

"She was disappointed with the amount and wanted to raise more."

Macmillan then wrote to her requesting the money raised be paid to them, but their requests fell on deaf ears. Letters were sent on May 7 and May 22, but with no response and no money paid in the matter was escalated to the charity's counter-fraud team. Further letters were sent on September 5 and November 25 and then again in August 2020 before an email was sent in October.

Each time no reply was received and as a result Macmillan instructed solicitors to begin a private prosecution.

Tomkins, who was self-represented, said she did not want to say anything when given the chance to address magistrates at her hearing last month, which was adjourned to give the CPS the chance to review whether they wanted to take on the case.

Mr Crawford said Macmillan has taken to private prosecutions because complaints to the police don't get taken further.

He said: "There has been a complete lack of willingness to look at the fraud Macmillan Cancer Support suffers."

He added: "They find it a very productive way of protecting their interests and leading to convictions."