A FORMER treasurer of a Royal Air Force charity who abused his position to fraudulently gain more than £26,000 has avoided an immediate jail term.
Victor Scuse, 76, of Wigmore Road, Worthing, invoiced the Worthing branch of the Royal Air Force Association for extortionately-priced goods from his own company.
It’s totally and utterly disgustingPaul Lynas, Worthing RAFA chairman
He pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Chichester Crown Court last Monday and was sentenced to a 12 month suspended prison term and ordered to pay £2,400 compensation.
Branch chairman Paul Lynas said Scuse’s actions put the charity on the verge of closure.
“It’s totally and utterly disgusting,” he said.
“My reaction to the sentence is he got off extremely lightly. The rather measly fine is probably the thing that grates us most, as the sums of money involved were quite considerable.”
Scuse was treasurer of the Ashacre Lane branch for around eight years and had control of the financial decision making for the club from 2008.
He resigned in 2011 after the committee challenged him over losses over the previous three or four years.
Police later found he had charged for goods the club had never received, including an automatic hand dryer (£528), a glass dishwasher maintenance contract (£564) and hand towels (£1508.82).
The association did not have a garden but he charged it for 20 litres of weed killer at a cost of £451.20.
Mr Lynas said the fact Scuse was in charge of the finances and the trust placed upon him that contributed to the time it took to uncover the crime. He said: “We set up a new committee and for 12 to 18 months the club was run entirely by volunteers.
“Nobody got paid a penny and we managed to repair the finances and took measures to improve things. We are very pleased to say we have now found our financial footing.”
Nick Bunting, secretary general of RAFA reassured the public that donations would go towards needy RAF families.
Scuse admitted the offence on the first day of his trial. The fraud took place between December 2007 and April 2011.