Former councillor ordered to pay back just £1 after £137,000 fraud

Angela Wilcox, former Manor Residents' Association centre manager.
Angela Wilcox, former Manor Residents' Association centre manager.

A former councillor who ripped off more than £137,000 from a community association forcing it to close has been ordered to repay £1.

Angela Wilcox was jailed last year for fraud against the Manor Residents’ Association in Hartlepool, which she managed.

Wilcox was back before Teesside Crown Court for a video link hearing from Askham Grange prison near York to determine if she has any assets which can be seized as the proceeds of crime.

The court heard that the fraud amounted to more than £137,000, although she did not take all of the money for herself.

Judge Howard Crowson was told only a fraction can be proven as being taken for herself and part of her motivation was to keep the residents’ association operating.

The court was also told that she is due to be released from prison in York later this month, after being jailed for 20 months last December.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said: “The financial investigation found the benefit from crime to be £137,114.

“Ms Wilcox has no realisable assets, so we are seeking a nominal order of £1.”

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

The charges relate to applications for grants from charitable foundations, and fraudulent cheques drawn on the Manor Residents’ Association bank account payable to ‘A Wilcox’.

The offences took place between 2012 and 2015.

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

Stephen Constantine, defending, said Wilcox had not taken all the money for herself.

He added: “The Crown can only prove theft of £7,000.

“Part of her motivation for the other offending was to try to keep the association running.

“She found herself thrust into management, and out of her depth.”

Wilcox was jailed for 20 months last December,

“She is due to be released on the 22nd of this month,” said Mr Constantine. “If she is given a formal 28 days to pay the £1, that will give her the chance to attend to it after she has been released.”

Judge Howard Crowson ruled Wilcox’s benefit from crime is £137,114, and she must pay £1 within 28 days or face seven days in prison in default.

The judge’s ruling means prosecutors could seek to recover more money from Wilcox if she acquires assets in future.