Treasurer who stole cash from Cwmfelinfach club '“hurt whole village'
10:40am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Campaign news
THE treasurer of a Valleys club stole money which meant members’ children had to go without a summer trip and their annual Christmas present, a court heard.
Amanda Jones’ deception while working for the 450-member Cwmfelinfach Workingmen’s Club also meant it had to cancel planned shows and obtain a bigger loan to pay for refurbishments.
Chairman Andrew Williams slammed Jones, 39, for “hurting the whole village and me personally”.
In a statement read out at Newport Crown Court, he said: “We have worked very hard to improve the club for the community and are very proud of what we have achieved. It was misplaced trust and I feel very bitter and cheated.”
Prosecutor John Warren said Jones, of Mill Street, Ynysddu, became treasurer on April 1 last year and by the end of the month she had started taking money, with her deception lasting until September.
She was responsible for depositing proceeds from the club into a safe. However, in September last year a shortfall was discovered and an internal audit established that £1,900 was missing, as well as amounts of £549, £129 and £481 collected from fruit machines.
A meeting was called on September 4 last year when Jones admitted the thefts, but claimed she took only £1,585 and had planned to pay it back.
Defence barrister Andrew Jones said there has been massive public anger directed towards her and Jones has lost her job and is looking to move home.
She pleaded guilty on the basis she took only £1,585, with her barrister saying: “She had financial troubles and aimed to pay it back. She is genuinely sorry for the distress she caused to all club users.”
Recorder David Aubrey called it a “mean but serious offence”, adding: “It had a substantial impact on the club financially and on the confidence and trust members feel.
It also had a real impact on the children, who were deprived of a holiday.”
He told her “you should feel utterly ashamed” and suspended a 12-month sentence for two years so she can undertake 300 hours’ unpaid work and pay £2,965.78p back to the club. She must also pay £200 prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge.
‘The money will now be reinvested’
AFTER the case, club secretary Zoe Parham vowed to put the money back “in its rightful place” and re-invest it for the children.
She said: “This has been hanging over us for a while and it’s a fantastic result as police said it was unlikely we’d ever see the money again.
“A lot of clubs are shutting down and this could have had a devastating impact on us.
Luckily, we were fortunate to have savings.”
A letter sent to the Argus from Jones’ husband, Andrew, said the pair could not apologise enough for what she did.
He said the couple had requested meetings with club officers and the committee to arrange for them to pay the money back but had heard nothing.
He also claimed the pair had suffered reprisals from the community since his wife’s arrest and her health had deteriorated considerably as a result.