William Eichler 04 July 2022

Council employee steals £161,000 from two parish councils

Council employee steals £161,000 from two parish councils  image
Image: Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com.

A woman has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to defrauding two parish councils in Oxfordshire.

Joanne Wills, aged 47, of Crowell Hill, Chinnor, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court last Thursday after she pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation at a previous hearing in May.

Wills stole £161,000 from Towersey Parish Council and Chinnor Parish Council while working for them.

She fraudulently transferred money to her own accounts from both parish councils, before then creating and filing fake invoices to cover this up as well as creating fraudulent meeting minutes.

Additionally, money was transferred from Chinnor Parish Council to Towersey Parish Council.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Nicola Clark, of Abingdon CID, said: ‘This has been a long and complex investigation involving a large quantity of public money which has been fraudulently taken by Joanne Wills from two parish councils.

‘Joanne was employed by both Chinnor Parish Council and Towersey Parish Council to safeguard their financial interests and protect their assets; and not to act against those interests for her own personal gain, yet she has done the complete opposite.

‘A custodial sentence is a good result, particularly due to the financial deficit that she has left the parish councils in because of her own greed.’

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