Peterborough fraudster who stole over £22,000 from city charities told pay back JUST £1

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A woman who stole thousands of pounds from two charities has been ordered to pay back just £1 - after a court heard there were no assets to seize.

Gemma Beeny was working as financial director at the Stanground Community Spaces (now Thistle Community Centre) and the Peterborough Gymnastics Academy when she transferred thousands from their accounts to her own to fund her gambling addiction.

Gemma Beeny

Gemma Beeny

She avoided jail after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud earlier this year, after Peterborough Crown Court heard a prison sentence would severely affect her children. She was given a two year sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Beeny (35) of Croyland Road, Peterborough, returned to the crown court for a proceeds of crime hearing.

The court was told Beeny had benefited from her frauds by £22,205.02 - but she had no assets for anyone to take.

Recorder Taylor ordered Beeny to pay a nominal amount of £1 within 28 days, or she would face a day in jail.

If Beeny has assets in the future, the court has the power to seize them.

Following the hearing, Lindsay McGinlay, who runs the Thistle Community Centre, said: “We are still paying debts off as a result of her actions. It will take a while to recover and get the finances back on track. But this has only made me more determined.”

A fundraising fete will be held at the community centre in Thistle Drive in Stanground on Sunday, between 10am and 4pm. There will be stalls, games and arts activities, as well as refreshments.

The centre is still looking for prizes for the event, and anyone who can help should call 07921 465377.