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ASSISTANT TOWN CLERK JAILED FOR STEALING MORE THAN £200,000

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An assistant town clerk at a council in Staffordshire has been jailed for four years after she admitted to stealing more than £200,000 of public funds.

Rebecca Mason was sentenced today (June 12) at Stafford Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud at magistrates' court in Cannock on 15 May.

The court heard that Mason had stolen £218,418 in 242 separate payments between 18 February 2017 and 10 December 2018 from Rugeley Town Council.

Checks revealed Mason, aged 42, has spent all of the money and now has little or no means.

The money was defrauded from the council's accounts into her own savings account by way of false accounting. Mason then transferred the money across to her current account and spent it. She said the money had been spent on keeping horses, a deposit for a flat, and a holiday in Turkey amongst other expenditure and admitted that most of it had been 'frittered away'.

As assistant town clerk Mason's role had been to administer and monitor financial and payroll systems. When a clerk from another parish council was appointed she raised concerns over a number of money transfers that had been taking place on a monthly basis.

Mason, of School Walk, Chase Terrace, admitted to police she had disguised the payments made to her account, falsely attributing money she had stolen as an excessive gas and electric bill.

Detective Constable Nick Gorman, of Staffordshire Police, said: "This was a significant amount of money that was stolen from the public purse by Rebecca Mason who dishonestly abused her position for her own financial gain in this case. Although she pleaded guilty at the first opportunity she knows this was a betrayal of trust that continued for some time."

12 Jun 2019 14:31:58 BST
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