Suspended sentence for chef who stole £10,000

A CHEF who stole nearly £10,000 from a children’s charity in Mirfield was given only a suspended sentence.

Lee McKone, 36, of Halifax, pleaded guilty to defrauding the Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust over 20 months across 2009 and 2010.

He was handed a 12-month suspended jail term at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday and must do 240 hours of unpaid work.

McKone also has to pay just £2,000 of the £9,585 he stole in a ‘cashback’ scam using a company credit card.

The court heard the father-of-three was given the card to buy catering supplies but pocketed £100 on transactions of only £10.

Northorpe Hall is a charity which helps children suffering from mental health and emotional problems.

McKone’s fraud was discovered when accounts that should have been in profit were found to be in the red.

Managers questioned McKone, who admitted taking £221. It was deducted from his wages and he was sacked.

A further investigation revealed the true scale of the deception, which could have supported at least 19 children and 18 volunteers for a year.

Imran Khan, prosecuting, said: “McKone admitted using the card for cash back. The amount of money was of high value to the charity.”

Kenneth Green, for McKone, said his client was a recovering alcoholic who had not been discovered sooner due to “slapdash” book-keeping.

Mr Green added: “It was inevitable he would be found out.

“The finger of suspicion pointed only to him.”

Recorder of Leeds Peter Babb said in sentencing he accepted McKone was the main carer for his three children.

He added: “I take into account you pleaded guilty at the first instance and have shown genuine remorse.”

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