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Wentworth Primary School PTA treasurer Hayley Foord sentenced after admitting fraud from PTA fund

A school PTA treasurer who wrote cheques to herself for £5,500 has escaped going to prison.

Mum-of-two Hayley Foord stole funds from Wentworth Primary School in Dartford which had been earmarked for children.

Hayley Foord, of Cugley Road, in Stone, pleaded guilty to fraud
Hayley Foord, of Cugley Road, in Stone, pleaded guilty to fraud

And when sharp-eyed bank officials queried the payments she then tried to con them into dropping an investigation, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

Hairdresser Foord, 34, of Cugley Road, Stone, admitted fraud and received an eight-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours' of unpaid work for the community and repay the school £1,000.

The judge told her that what she had done had "shattered" her good name among people who knew her in Dartford.

Prosecutor Ian Foinette said: "This is a case involving fraudulent activity which went on in connection with a Parents-Teacher Association at a primary school in Dartford.

"Foord was the PTA's honorary treasurer and she wrote nine cheques to herself, totalling £5,500. Out of that, £2,000 was paid before other people found out what was going on and the other cheques were stopped by the bank."

Wentworth Primary School in Dartford. Picture: John Westhrop
Wentworth Primary School in Dartford. Picture: John Westhrop

The frauds took place between January 1 and 23, 2020 when another signatory to the account received a text from the bankers asking for confirmation that a £500 cheque was genuine.

The prosecutor added: "The cheque was payable to the defendant and it was discovered that two signatures which were needed were both forged."

After making inquiries, the cheque was halted and a block was placed on Foord's bank account and days later she tried to con personal details from the other official.

The following day the bank told the PTA official that a cheque - which she knew nothing about - had been stopped. It was then discovered another four cheques had all been forged.

Mr Foinette said that someone had been into the Dartford branch posing as a PTA official asking for the fraud investigation to be stopped.

"You breached the trust of those who placed you in a position of responsibility"

"Foord later denied it was her but the Crown say it was her," the prosecutor added.

Judge Julian Smith told her: "You breached the trust of those who placed you in a position of responsibility.

"You found yourself in financial difficulty, for whatever reason, and I believe there was quite a lot of thought which went into this. And even though it wasn't highly sophisticated or well planned, the consequences were pretty severe.

"You chose to give false details and then you sought to persuade people to end the investigation."

Speaking after the sentencing, Wentworth head teacher Paul Langridge said: “I am pleased the PTA (Parent and Teacher Association) member responsible for this action has been brought to justice and in particular that she has been ordered to pay compensation to the school.

“This type of crime negatively impacts upon children as it means they miss out on additional activities, resources, and treats, which the PTA raises money for.

“I would like to thank Kent Police, who we have liaised with throughout the legal process. I would also like to thank my staff and other members of the PTA for their support and professionalism throughout this time.”

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