Court date for former boss of scandal-hit Hartlepool charity

COURT DATE: Angie Wilcox
COURT DATE: Angie Wilcox

THE former boss of a scandal-hit charity will appear in court next month after a long-running police probe saw her charged with a string of offences.

Angie Wilcox found herself at the centre of an investigation over various allegations of wrongdoing while in charge at Manor Residents’ Association.

The charity, which was based in Kilmarnock Road, now no longer operates.

Mrs Wilcox, and her daughter Sarah Stead, were arrested in an early-morning swoop at the charity’s base on October 9 last year.

Their arrests came less than a month after Cleveland Police’s Economic Crime Unit launched an investigation into complaints of financial irregularities.

It came after an audit review carried out by Hartlepool Borough Council had led to officials making a referral to the police.

Yesterday, Mrs Wilcox was formally charged with conspiracy to steal, two counts of false accounting and three counts of fraud.

A 27-year-old woman, who the Mail understands is Mrs Wilcox’s daughter, has been charged with conspiracy to steal and fraud while a third former member of staff, a 57-year-old woman, faces charges of conspiracy to steal and three counts of fraud.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Officers investigating allegations of financial irregularities at Manor Residents’ Association in Hartlepool have charged a 52-year-old woman with conspiracy to steal, two counts of false accounting and three counts of fraud.

“A 27-year-old woman has been charged with conspiracy to steal and fraud.

“A 57-year-old woman has been summoned to court for conspiracy to steal and three counts of fraud.

“They are due to appear in court in November.”

The audit review into MRA came after concerns were raised about administrative procedures surrounding payroll, payslips, end of year records and under and over payment of tax letters.

The review concluded “no assurances” could be given to the procedures in place to manage council funds.

That followed four employment tribunal cases against the charity in Middlesbrough County Court, all of which they lost.

MRA was ordered to pay almost £9,000 to former cleaner Lynda Gooding, who wasn’t paid the national minimum wage by the charity.

Mrs Gooding paid £100 to execute a bailiffs’ warrant after the deadline for payment passed.

In August last year, the organisation then submitted an application to Hartlepool County Court to suspend the warrant while a Company Voluntary Arrangement was finalised, but the judge took just 30 seconds to strike off the application after nobody turned up to represent the charity at the court case.

Mrs Gooding, from Forfar Road, is still yet to receive a penny of the £8,805 she is owed.

Carl Williams, Sharon Henderson and Sue Harriman also won employment tribunal cases against the charity - totalling more than £13,000 - but the trio are all still waiting for the money they are owed.

Mrs Wilcox, who was a Labour councillor for the Manor House ward at the time of the investigation, stood down from her role at the Civic Centre in July last year claiming the controversy surrounding MRA had a “detrimental” effect on her family.