You will have likely seen the recent news about the conviction of Harris Polack from Liverpool, who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position for taking over £200,000 from various charities. Mr Pollack organised charity collections outside of supermarkets for a number of organisations including Cancer Research UK and admitted to pocketing almost all of the donations. He was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. This case serves as a salutary reminder that fraud really knows no bounds and the third sector is as vulnerable to the threat of fraud as any commercial organisation.
At our recent conference, Tackling Fraud Together 2013, we garnered cross sector support including support from third sector organisations for a holistic approach to dealing with fraud: placing prevention at the heart of any counter-fraud strategy and focusing on the most effective methods of resolution, including both civil and criminal remedies. The event was unique in that it also included a mock trial of a private prosecution. Private prosecutions are a mode of resolution that are rapidly gaining momentum where the CPS won't prosecute a case. Essentially, any entity can commence a prosecution and to all intents and purposes it proceeds like a regular public prosecution. The deterrent nature of a successful prosecution is absolutely vital in communicating the message that fraud won't be tolerated in the third sector.