Charity boss jailed for stealing from Stonebridge-based youth organisation

Greedy worker pilfered much needed funds over a five year period

A FORMER charity boss who stole ten of thousands of pounds from his organisation has been jailed for three years and eight months (today).

Southwark Crown Court heard Patrick Lewis falsify cheques made out to Stonebridge- based Bears Youth Challenge (Brent Educational Art Recreational Services) and used the money to maintain a flashy lifestyle that included a �90,000 Porsche.

The 47-year-old, who is known as ‘Twiggy’, grew up on the notorious Chalkhill Estate in Wembley, and fellow charity trustee Ingrid Sambrook, 58, who worked as a project manager at Bears, wrote false cheques which they co-signed to fraudulently siphon thousands from the charity’s account which was transferred into a ‘slush fund’.

Lewis, who was a well-respected member of the black community in north west London, was earning �40,000 a year while plundering the charity’s funds.

Between 2001 to 2006, when the scam took place, he used �15,000 to buy his car, which he claimed he needed to ‘win the respect’, of the youths he worked with.

Mr Jonathan Goldring, representing Lewis, claimed the former regeneration chief, felt underpaid and ‘disillusioned’ so turned to stealing to supplement his income. In an interview with detectives read out in court, Lewis, said: “I cannot advocate about working unless I am rolling up in something in which they say ‘right, working pays for that guy’.”

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After the Charity Commission launched an investigation into allegations of financial irregularities at Bears, Lewis transferred his Porsche into his partner Yvonne Thompson’s name.

A massive �162,455 was withdrawn by the pair, of which �87,000 came from Brent Council, where Lewis also worked advising the authority on what charities to invest in.

Sambrook, who has paid back �83,044 to Bears, claims she was in dire financial straits at the time of the thefts as she was paying for nursing home care for her parents.

Lewis went on to become the acting chief executive of South Kilburn New Deal for Communities (SKNDC) from September 2006 until resigning in June 2007.

He admitted stealing �68,467 over five years.

Sambrook pleaded guilty to obtaining �68,391 over three years, of which she directly pocketed �19,824. She claims the rest went to line Lewis’ pockets.

She was handed down a suspended 12months jail term and ordered to carry out 240 hours community service.

Sending Lewis to jail, Judge his honour Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: “You Mr Lewis were the chairman of a chartable trust.

“I have no doubt you were the more culpable of the two, it is clear that much of what Mrs Sambrook stole was for you.

“You stole money for a number of reasons, first it is very clear that it was easy to do so.

“These offences took place over a number of years without anyone detecting them, second you felt undervalued by your employers, and that you felt that this somehow entitled you to steal from a charitable trust speaks for itself.”