1998: Lock, Stock – Ritchie
This is a very odd tale. It is reported that a Bristol Accountant was sacked for forging a charity’s fire alarm certificates. However after his departure it emerged that over a period of about 5 years he has misappropriated over £560,000 from the Charity “Above and Beyond”, a reasonably large sum of money. Mr Brendan Joyce from Bristol used the money to fund his lifestyle which surprised many. He was something of a car collector, but perhaps not the sort of cars you might expect, his choice was more run of the mill Vauxhall Carlton type. It is reported that he kept over 100 cars in lock-up garages across Bristol and had eventually found the monthly rental payments beyond his means. Mr Joyce has been sentenced to three years in prison.
The Above and Beyond Charity does some really great work raising money for nine of Bristol’s hospitals to improve the hospital environment, fund research, support and train staff and provide equipment. The charity provides over £3m to hospitals in Bristol each year, with 11 employees and over 400 volunteers. It is perhaps due to the financial cunning of Mr Joyce that the theft was not discovered sooner. However, this should be another reminder to business owners and charities to ensure that the Accounts are understood and checked thoroughly, which is also the responsibility of the auditors for charities, which in this case was Grant Thornton. As someone that serves on a charity Risk and Audit committee, the importance of this no small undertaking.
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