No jail sentence for fraudster

Falkirk Sheriff Court

Falkirk Sheriff Court

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A Larbert woman who pocketed money intended for a charity set up in memory of a stillborn child escaped a prison sentence.

Karen Fraser (49), who helped to run a local newspaper in Glasgow, made off with cash raised at a ceremony for Glasgow-based Sean’s Trust in October 2013 – an event she herself organised.

A trial heard how Fraser, 20 McCormack Place, had a “lifestyle her income could not support” and how she enjoyed more than 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.

However, Sheriff Neil MacKinnon convicted her of fraud at Glasgow Sheriff Court and handed her a community payback order with the condition she must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work within six months.

Passing sentence last Thursday, Sheriff MacKinnon said: “In perpetrating this offence you betrayed the trust of those who were entitled to expect substantial honesty from you.”

During the trail the court heard she invited mum Linda Croker and her family to the evening. Linda had recently set up Sean’s Trust in the name of her stillborn son.

The charity was set up to help other families left heartbroken by the loss of a baby.

During the event envelopes were put on each table for those attending to donate cash and an announcement was then made by the night’s compere that funds would go to the charity.

It is believed around £1200 was eventually raised, but no cash reached Sean’s Trust.