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Wessex Cancer Trust ex-finance boss Paula Tribbeck took £91,000

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A TRUSTED finance boss holidayed abroad and went on shopping sprees after siphoning more than £90,000 from a cancer charity.

Paula Tribbeck has now been jailed after she took £91,344 from Wessex Cancer Trust over a period of almost seven years.

The 48-year-old joined the charity in 1993. She was working as a financial coordinator when the fraud began.

Prosecuting, Matthew Lawson said the charity had more than doubled in size meaning there was less supervision of staff – with Tribbeck taking advantage of this.

Tribbeck went undetected when she transferred money into her bank from charity accounts she had been asked to close.

She changed papers to make it look like the money was being used to pay suppliers.

READ MORE: ‘Trusted’ Southampton fundraiser siphoned thousands from charity

She carried on for nearly seven years – until late 2019 – taking £93,813 from the accounts. She only paid back £2,386.

Mr Lawson said she was “spending large amounts of money” on shopping and holidays, “living beyond her means”.

This came at a time of financial difficulties for the charity which was seeing services scaled back as a result, the court head.

Daily Echo: Paula Tribbeck, of Broadlands Road, Southampton has been jailed for stealing from the charity she worked forPaula Tribbeck, of Broadlands Road, Southampton has been jailed for stealing from the charity she worked for (Picture: Hampshire Constabulary.)

Jailing her for two years, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: “You were a lifelong employee of the Wessex Cancer Trust. It expanded and that allowed you to take advantage.

“You were surprised it was that much but you must have had some idea of ​​what you were doing.

“While others were giving up hard-earned sums. There is no excuse for that. “People may think twice about giving to this charity all because of what you did.” Tribbeck’s betrayal was discovered when suppliers began chasing the charity saying they hadn’t been paid.

Tribbeck, of Broadlands Road, Southampton, was questioned but gave “evasive” answers until the charity took action by “breaking into” her work desk, where they found fobs to access the bank accounts and documents to close the accounts which had never been submitted .

She was arrested and made full admissions to police about her actions, appearing “visibly shocked” when told how much had been taken from the accounts.

In a statement read out in court, a spokesperson from Wessex Cancer Trust, which receives most of its money from the public, said: “It costs well over £1m to deliver the service.

“[Tribbeck] had a trusted position in the charity and went to great lengths to cover it up.

“[The charity’s] reputation will suffer as a result of the fraud.

“The theft has devastated staff and volunteers. They have become more mistrusting. This one individual had shaken the trust the public has in the charity.”

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Mitigating, Chris Gaiger said Tribbeck has been trying to make her family a “better unit” by taking them on holiday and “treating them”.

He added that she is “deeply remorseful” and “deeply regrets her actions”.

“She is aware of the impact it has had on the company she worked for many years.

“She is ashamed for herself and her family,” he said.

Despite Tribbeck’s vow to repay the money she had taken, the judge told the court she is still holidaying at least once a year and has not repaid any funds.

She admitted fraud by abuse of position.

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