A Sheffield couple have been jailed for spending charity donations – intended to help save babies’ lives – on a lavish lifestyle as part of an ‘organised, systematic and very lucrative’ scam.
Glen and Lynne Moore stole more than £121,000 from charities supporting sick and needy youngsters by holding fake collections for legitimate good causes.
The pair, who lived in a rented council house in Eastern Avenue, Arbourthorne, claimed benefits but also had a villa in Lanzarote and regularly took expensive trips abroad.
They took donations for charities including the national organisation Tommy’s, which funds research to prevent stillbirths, premature births and miscarriages.
But instead the money went straight into the Moores’ bank accounts. Sheffield Crown Court heard Glen, aged 45, who was married to Lynne, 39, for 20 years was the ‘driving force’ of the scam, which began when Lynne became a registered collector for Tommy’s in 2000.
Richard Sheldon, prosecuting, said the last donation she made to the charity was £1,125 in November 2004, yet she was still ‘collecting’ in 2010. Lynne was blacklisted when Tommy’s became suspicious.
But the Moores then went further by setting up their own bogus charity called Enabled, on Queen Street in Sheffield, which claimed it was helping terminally ill and disabled children.
Collections took place in pubs, stores such as Toys R Us, at football matches and in supermarkets.
Mr Sheldon said: “They collected up and down the country from members of the public but kept all the cash they received for themselves. It was organised, systematic and very lucrative.”
Police were called in following an anonymous tip-off to Crimestoppers and the Enabled offices were raided by police. After their arrest the Moores were released on bail but fled the country. They later returned, but Glen fled again and is still on the run.
Lynne Moore pleaded guilty to four offences of fraud and one of acquiring criminal property. Glen Moore was tried and found guilty in his absence of the same offences.
The judge, Recorder Simon Batiste, jailed Glen for seven-and-a-half years and Lynne for four-and-a-half.
He said: “These are in any view despicable offences. This was deliberate targeting of a large number of vulnerable victims. They were sophisticated offences and there was considerable planning.”
Jane Brewin, chief executive of Tommy’s, said the charity made ‘every effort’ to ensure all fundraisers were genuine.
“We want to reassure our supporters that incidents where this is not the case are exceptionally rare,” she added.