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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Charity manager jailed for theft
A manager facing credit card debts has been jailed for five years after admitting stealing more than 500,000 from two health charities.

Keith Foster, 49, of Billericay, Essex, stole 160,000 when manager of the British Association of Hand Therapists.

He then changed jobs and took 400,000 from a government compensation fund for people who had caught hepatitis C through blood transfusions.

Foster also admitted 30 other charges of deception at Basildon Crown Court.

Prosecutor David Pickersgill told Recorder Christopher Thomas QC that Foster had exploited loopholes in accounting systems and diverted charity cheques into his own account.

Abuse of trust

He had begun stealing after getting into a spiral of credit card debt, the court was told.

Foster took money from the British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT) - a charity set up to improve the treatment of hand ailments and injuries - between 2001 and 2004.

Then, after becoming company secretary of the Skipton Fund - a charity that paid compensation to hepatitis C sufferers - he stole more funds.

Lawyers at the BAHT spotted anomalies and challenged Foster after he had left the organisation, the court was told.

Foster used money he stole from the Skipton Fund to repay them.

Richard Hampton, deputy managing director of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, said: "Keith Foster abused his position of trust and responsibility to steal from his employers.

"He stole money meant for people with life-threatening illnesses.

"On the advice of the NHS Counter Fraud Service, the Skipton Fund has already taken action to close the loopholes that allowed this fraud to occur.

"The money Foster defrauded to repay the British Association of Hand Therapists has been returned to the Skipton Fund."

Worker jailed who stole more than 500,000 from charity

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