Ex-councillor Angela Wilcox jailed for residents’ association fraud

Angela Wilcox, former Manor Residents Association centre manager.

Angela Wilcox, former Manor Residents Association centre manager.

A former councillor who stole from a community association she managed has been jailed for 20 months.

Angela Wilcox also defrauded two charitable trusts and a personal loan company in what a judge described as ‘significant abuse of trust’.

Former Manor Residents' Association Community Resource Centre, Kilmarnock Road

Former Manor Residents' Association Community Resource Centre, Kilmarnock Road

Wilcox created false bank statements to mislead Hartlepool Borough Council auditors into believing finances at the Manor Residents’ Association were healthy.

Her daughter, Sarah Stead, was in the dock of Teesside Crown Court with her mother for writing a fraudulent cheque.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said the Crown can only prove that Wilcox stole £7000 from the association.

He added: “Wilcox also defrauded external funding organisations, the Crown says to disguise her dishonesty, to such an extent the association lost their confidence, was no longer viable, and was forced to close.

“This deprived the Owton Manor community in Hartlepool of a valuable and cherished resource.”

The court heard Wilcox gave council auditors false bank statements which showed association accounts had far more in them than they had.

“One example was an account Wilcox said had more than £250,000 in it actually had less than £30,” said Mr Newcombe. “This gave auditors the false impression the association was viable which meant the council continued to support it. It was not until later when the association sought to make an arrangement with its creditors that suspicions were aroused.”

Wilcox, 54, of Minch Road, Hartlepool, admitted 14 charges of fraud, and single charges of furnishing false information for an audit by Hartlepool Borough Council, and falsifying bank statements.

She also admitted making three false personal loan applications to Buddy Loans.

Stead, 29, of Berkeley Avenue, admitted fraud against The Money Shop in 2012.

Stephen Constantine, for Wilcox, said: “Part of her motivation for the other offending was to try to keep the association running.”

Christine Egerton, for Stead, said she is now ashamed of what she had done.

Judge Simon Phillips jailed Wilcox for 20 months. Stead was given four months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

The judge told Wilcox: “This offending was a significant abuse of trust, committed over a sustained period of time, and with substantial planning.”