Former Age UK chief executive ‘stole over £700,000’ from charity

A former chief executive of Age UK Concern South Tyneside has been accused of stealing over £700,000 from the charity between 2007 and 2015.

John Briers allegedly pocketed thousands of pounds after paying 60 cheques into his own account, awarding himself 12 unauthorised bonuses and 19 additional pension top-ups, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Concerns about Briers' suspicious activities were raised by a finance officer at the charity in August 2015, who was concerned about an invoice from an alleged architecture firm, the court heard.

The officer, Grahame Cassidy, said the document did not appear to be genuine and the VAT had not been correctly calculated.

Templates of blank invoices for a number of different firms were allegedly found when Briers' office was searched.

The court heard the money was taken from the two parts of the organisation: the charity, which he was chief executive of, and the trading company, which he was secretary of.

Briers, aged 57, has denied three counts of fraud by abuse of position.The trial continues.

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