Larbert woman’s cruel charity con to fund Portugal trips

Fraser, who took up to 16 trips to Portugal a year to stay in a holiday home, appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court
Fraser, who took up to 16 trips to Portugal a year to stay in a holiday home, appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court

A fraudster pocketed cash meant for a charity set up in memory of a stillborn child so she could enjoy trips to a Portuguese villa.

Karen Fraser (49), 20 McCormack Place, Larbert, took funds raised at a ceremony she herself organised for Glasgow-based Sean’s Trust.

A trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court last Thursday, heard Fraser had a “lifestyle her income could not support” which included over a dozen jaunts a year to her holiday home in Portugal.

She denied the allegations insisting she was the victim of a “smear campaign” and that she had not promised money would go to the charity, but Sheriff Neil MacKinnon convicted her of fraud and she could now be facing a jail sentence when she comes before the court again in the New Year.

During the trial, the court heard Fraser invited Linda Croker along to a community awards night at the Crowne Plaza hotel in October 2013. Linda had set up Sean’s Trust in memory of her stillborn son with the aim of helping other families left heartbroken by the loss of a baby.

The trial was told envelopes were put on each table for those attending to donate cash – a suggested minimum of £10 – and Fraser said all the money raised in the envelopes would go to Sean’s Trust, which the compere later confirmed in an announcement during the night.

It is believed a total of around £1200 was placed in the envelopes, but none of it ever reached Sean’s Trust.

During the trial Fraser claimed any cash handed over was for a “prize raffle” and that no pledge to Sean’s Trust had been made, stating the trust was not even a registered charity, so why would she give money to something that was not registered.

She said: “The money went into the bank account. It was a company event.”

The court went on to hear how Fraser made up to 16 jaunts a year to a holiday home in Portugal which reportedly cost her £2000 a month.

Prosecutor Elaine Jackson said Fraser was living a lifestyle that her income could not support and this explained why the crime took place.

Fraser claimed: “I certainly did not take money from charities to fund my lifestyle.”