Police probe large-scale fraud at leading charity

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Two board members arrested 

15th April 2019 by Robert Armour 12 Comments

Police are probing a large-scale fraud at the RSPCA.

Two men have been arrested at the charity’s south east London branch after hundreds of thousands of pounds were found to be missing.  

It is thought the sum could be as much as £450,000.

Some RSPCA branches are run as independent charities which is the case for the south east London office.

The suspected fraud was discovered during an audit of the south-east London branch in June last year when it was found almost £16,000 had been spent on bills at Premier Inn hotels.

It follows a series of fraud and governance issues at the organisation. In January Peter Ralphs, former chairman of the Shropshire branch of the organisation, was jailed for three years for stealing £184,000.

And last year the Charity Commission issued an official warning to the RSPCA over a payout to its former chief executive, saying trustees had failed to ensure the decision was properly made, and that their failings amounted to mismanagement.

A RSPCA spokesperson said: “After concerns were raised about the running of the London South East branch, which is a separately registered charity from the national RSPCA, a financial review was launched. The issue has been referred to the police and we are not in a position to comment further but we would like to reassure our supporters that the branch continues to operate as usual.”

A spokesman for the commission, responding to the latest fraud allegations, said: “A serious incident was reported to the commission in line with our guidance on reporting serious incidents and we opened a regulatory compliance case to assess the charity’s response to this serious incident.

“We expect the trustees to submit the findings of their internal investigation once complete, which we will review, as well as any necessary policies and procedures, including around financial controls, to ensure the charity has acted appropriately.”

17th April 2019 by Anne McKinney

So WHY exactly is this London S.E. branch Seperately registered from the main RSPCA?

19th April 2019 by Diane Gibson

Nothing new there then. Back in 1991 at my brother's funeral we collected for the RSPCA and shortly afterwards it was all over the news about how hundreds of thousands of pounds were siphoned off to buy cars boats holidays houses etc by corrupt top personnel. Fuming then and still fuming to this day. And hey presto it's happened again. Time to drop the Royal or disband the whole corrupt organisation

19th April 2020 by Tins Cornell

It might be run separately but people giving give to RSPCA thinking all there donations go to the animals those of us envolved in rescue know different it’s time to really delve into where the vast amount of money goes thoroughly as there’s far too many living well out of this organisation for my liking over the whole organisation. It’s time to drop the Royal in my estimation many struggling animal rescues do a better job on very limited resorces time to recognise them

19th April 2020 by Steph Childs

Been going on for decades, even in the 70's the Daily Mail uncovered corruption. Should no longer have the Royal assent and be disbanded.

19th April 2020 by Adele whatmore

"carry on operations as normal". Sounds like no change then! No review of practices? Poor employees on the ground being mis guided by people who show know better.

20th April 2020 by I wouldn't trust them

I don't trust them at all iv rang twice and got no help twice. This thieving doesn't surprise me at all. I wouldn't leave them anything

20th April 2020 by sandy lane

am i surprised?

20th April 2020 by Val Milnes

So many independent charities are not governed correctly. The charities commission need to tighten up the rules

22nd April 2020 by Alec Swan

The rspca and for many years now, need to consider the charter of their charity, withdraw from the ludicrous and supposedly Police styled uniforms which succeed in their intent, to intimidate and the current board, all self appointed and voted in to place (very EU that!), they need to drop their political stance and concentrate on their very rational - Animal Welfare.

23rd April 2020 by I love animals

A number of inaccuracies in this. All branches are registered separate charities and always have been. I would want to see the whole findings before commenting. Who are you putting in place instead of the RSPCA Inspectors (that are part of National RSPCA), to go out to cruelty? More ordinary people need to help out with charities. Big business has many cases of fraud but they are better at cover ups!

23rd April 2020 by ! love animals

Just realised this article was from a year ago!

23rd April 2020 by Phillip orr

You have had the last penny you will ever get out of me, paracites.