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Woman cheated MacMillan Cancer Support out of car boot sale cash

By Deborah Hardiman | Walsall | Crime | Published:

A woman has been found guilty of defrauding MacMillan Cancer Support at car boot sales.

Yvonne Khan, inset, was filmed running stalls at a car boot sale in aid of a charity but she failed to hand over the proceeds

Partially blind Yvonne Khan, of Walsall, faced an offence of fraud against the charity between July 21, 2018 and August 16 last year and an offence of possession of articles in the use of fraud.

The case related to the 62-year-old running stalls at four car boot stalls in aid of the charity, but failing to pay over any proceeds for the period.

Miss Sarah Wood, prosecuting, told the hearing that the matter came to light following concerns raised by another vendor over Khan's "aggressive sales technique" and over the quality of the publicity signs used on her stand.

"It is the prosecution's case that Khan went to four car boot sales representing that she was selling items to raise money for MacMillan," she said.

"The reality was that she was pocketing the proceeds for herself.

"There is no dispute that between July 25. 2017 and January 24, 2018 that she was a registered fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support Services. Between those dates she raised £322.50.

"Significantly January 24, 2018 was the last time that she made a payment. These offences occurred after that date," Miss Wood told Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court.

The court heard that in 2018 Khan, of Clews Close, Caldmore, set up stalls at Studley, in Worcestershire, on July 22; Stonleigh, in Warwickshire, on August 12; in Mill Lane, Wolverhampton, on March 24, 2019; and at Dark Lane, in Essington.

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Video footage and photographs of her at the stalls were shown to the bench.

Miss Wood said a subsequent investigation by the charity's counter fraud team found that the wording on Khan's supporter registration letter had been modified after it was emailed to her, relating to the possession offence.

Giving evidence Khan said she has dementia, epilepsy, is blind "but knows the difference between wrong and right".

"I've been doing car boots most of my adult life because I'm a hoarder," she added. "Sometimes social services say it's a fire risk.

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"I was selling my stuff and everything I sold I put at least a pound in the box.

"Things for sale for MacMillan were in a different place than other things, but they got mixed up by people but not deliberately."

Khan helped to carry items

Miss Wood said footage from August 2019 showed her setting up and packing away her stall.

"You may think that during the videos she presents as lucid, clearly aware, there is no evidence that her mental condition has deteriorated since July last year," she said.

"On the letter from MacMillan it says Yvonne Khan agrees to donate all money raised from this event to MacMillan."

And Miss Wood said there was "no way" to distinguish between items for sale generally and for MacMillan.

Mr Martin McNamara, defending, said: "Everyone in this court can see she is a vulnerable individual, she's had support throughout the proceedings.

"Without being prompted she said she knows the difference between right and wrong.

"She has said nothing that she has done amounts to stealing."

Magistrates found Khan guilty on both counts.

Chair of the bench Mrs Michelle Wallis said: "In that footage you were in complete control of your stall and were very mobile.

"That person is very different to the person we see today."

Khan will be sentenced at a later date.

Jenny Goddard, head of regional fundraising for Macmillan, said: "We have robust systems and processes in place to prevent, detect and deal with fraud, including a dedicated and award-winning counter-fraud function, to prevent and identify wrong doing.

"We will vigorously pursue action against any deliberate abuse of the public’s trust and support for our work."

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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