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Fraud is a serious threat to every organisation, charities included. Here are some real examples of how charities can be affected by fraud.

Case study 1

A trusted charity store volunteer with a gambling habit stole more than £1,000 over a five-month period. Suspicions arose when a new area manager noticed that the store's annual profits had halved. A hidden camera was installed which caught the fraudster failing to register sales though the till and then stealing the cash. He was given a 12-month community order and told to pay £800 in compensation.

Case study 2

The former head of counter-fraud at a major international aid charity was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing almost £65,000. Following the Haiti earthquake he had used his own investigation into fellow aid workers as cover for a nine-month scam using false invoices from two fictitious companies. The crime was uncovered following an internal investigation into the fraudster's own professional conduct. During the trial the court heard that he had been addicted to prescription drugs at the time of the fraud.

Case study 3

 A former chief cashier, who had worked for the same major children's charity for 11 years, stole donations worth more than £800,000 by intercepting postal orders and cheques and then changing the name of the payee. He used the money to pay for a luxury house, a villa, cars and various investments. Having pleaded guilty to 19 charges of theft and three of forgery, he was jailed for six years.

Case study 4

A homeless charity was forced into administration when two members of its finance team, including the head of finance, were arrested on suspicion of widespread fraud. The sum at risk is in the region of £800,000.