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Treasurer of St Gregory's Catholic Primary PTA in Margate stole cash meant for school computers

A dishonest treasurer of a school Parent Teacher Association has walked free after stealing thousands of pounds earmarked for computers for pupils.

Laoura Zacharia took cash she should have banked for St Gregory’s Catholic Primary in Margate and also used funds to obtain goods from a cash and carry.

The total sum involved was £7,172.

Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: John Wardley
Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: John Wardley

Maidstone Crown Court heard the 36-year-old mother used food and drink from Booker Wholesale in Broadstairs for a joint baby shower she had with PTA chairman Kerry Sansom, who was not involved in the deception.

Suspicions arose and the finances were investigated.

Zacharia, of All Saints Avenue, Margate, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for a year after admitting fraud by abuse of position.

Prosecutor Trevor Wright said Zacharia took up the voluntary role for the school in Nash Road in September 2014.

The dishonesty covered a year up to September last year, during which she would write cheques to herself and buy substantial amounts of food from Booker.

Mr Wright told a judge the food items included camembert cheese and salami.

GDPR will come into force in May next year
GDPR will come into force in May next year

It was discovered that there was only £67 in the Barclays Bank account when there should have been at least £5,000.

“The plan was to use the money to buy computers for the school,” said Mr Wright.

When arrested in November last year Zacharia admitted she had used the funds for her own benefit.

She agreed she cashed one cheque for £800 which was float money for a summer fair.

She explained she had suffered bereavements in her family and said she had used some of the cash for “memoriums”.

Other money, she said, went on “general day to day stuff”. She claimed she intended to pay it back.

School head teacher Jacqui Wright gave evidence that the dishonesty was out of character. She added that Zacharia had now repaid all the money she took.

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