Former Hartlepool councillor facing jail after admitting fraud offences

A former councillor is facing prison for her part in financial irregularities at a residents' association she managed.

Monday, 31st October 2016, 4:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:39 pm
Angela Wilcox, former Manor Residents Association centre manager.
Angela Wilcox, former Manor Residents Association centre manager.

Angela Wilcox was due to stand trial at Teesside Crown Court for several offences of fraud in relation to a personal loan application.

She pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a raft of dishonesty offences in relation to the now defunct Manor Residents’ Association, which was based in Kilmarnock Road, Hartlepool.

Manor Residents Association Community Resource Centre, Kilmarnock Road

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A last-minute deal between prosecutors and lawyers representing Wilcox and her co-accused meant a trial was averted.

Wilcox 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.

Sarah Louise Stead leaving Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

Also in the dock with Wilcox was her daughter Sarah Stead.

She denied conspiracy to steal from Manor Residents’ Association, and pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud against The Money Shop in 2012.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe told the court Stead’s pleas were acceptable to the prosecution following discussions between prosecution and defence financial experts who were due to give evidence at the trial.

Mr Newcombe added no evidence will be offered against a third defendant, Carol Jeffries, 58, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, who denied conspiring to steal from the association.

Carol Jeffries outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court. Picture by FRANK REID

The pleas mark the latest stage in a long investigation into the association which was set up to provide community services to residents of the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool.

Cleveland Police made their first arrests in the case in 2013 after a council audit concluded the financial management of the association was inadequate.

Wilcox, 54, of Minch Road, and Stead, 29, of Berkeley Avenue, both Hartlepool, were bailed pending sentencing on December 2.

Judge Simon Phillips QC told Wilcox: “You must realise your liberty is very much at risk.”

Angela Wilcox outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court. Picture by FRANK REID
Manor Residents Association Community Resource Centre, Kilmarnock Road
Sarah Louise Stead leaving Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.
Carol Jeffries outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court. Picture by FRANK REID
Angela Wilcox outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court. Picture by FRANK REID