A fraudster who defrauded a charity in Halton of over £150,000 has been deported from Turkey and brought back to the UK to face justice. Donna Wells, 41, had fled to Turkey before her sentencing.
Wells, a service manager, stole money that should have been used to support individuals struggling with alcohol, drugs, and mental health issues. She had failed to attend her scheduled hearing where she was sentenced to four years in prison on June 5th.
At an earlier hearing, Wells had pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and acquiring criminal property between January 2018 and January 2020. Cheshire Police had been alerted by Young Addaction Halton of financial irregularities in December 2020. The charity’s audit revealed numerous payments made by Wells into four separate bank accounts that were unknown to the charity.
While three of these accounts belonged to Wells, she also used a friend’s husband, Francis Jones, to launder some of the money through his mobile sandwich bar. Jones admitted to converting criminal property after receiving payments from Wells and paid £28,100 back into her accounts. He was given a suspended 15-month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
After fleeing to Turkey, Wells was apprehended on August 18th with the assistance of Turkish authorities. She appeared before Liverpool Crown Court and was given an additional four weeks for breaching her bail.
Detective Constable Daryl Gavin emphasized that the stolen money belonged to a charity dedicated to helping those in need, and Wells’ actions had deprived vulnerable individuals of much-needed assistance. He further highlighted that this case demonstrated that there is no place to hide for criminals in Cheshire.