The former secretary of the Pointer Club Mr Anthony Powell (Hayapark) was jailed for 18 months last week, with nine of the months suspended, after stealing £18,415 of club funds.
Powell, 57, of Thistle Hill, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to one charge of theft and five of false accounting on September 1st at York Crown Court.
After returning to York on September 29th for sentencing he asked for nine other cases of false accouting to be taken into consideration.
Powell had been club secretary since 1984 and his wife treasurer since 1981. But, it was alleged in court, that she had been treasurer in name only as well as a cheque signatory. He had been a member of the club for 27 years.
Powell’s income had been halved then his business as a financial advisor had got into difficulties and he saw the chance to use club money to get out of difficulties.
The problems were discovered last January when Powell was asked why a club year book printing bill had not been paid. After telling the club chairman Mrs Aidine Howes that the banks had made a mistake he subsequently offered to resign and then, a day later, admitted fabricating the club’s accounts.
For 13 years Powell produced false documents at club AGMs by photocopying the original auditor’s signature. His wife was also unaware of the deception.
Representing Powell, John Harrison said in court that he [Powell] wanted to repay the money to the club by remortgaging his house or by spreading the amount on his credit cards.
Aftering hearing the representations from both sides Judge Paul Hoffman told Powell he was a 57 year-old of previously good character and that ‘It pained him to do what he had to do.
‘But’, said Judge Hoffman, ‘for 13 years you have stolen from the people who trusted you. You know I have to lock you up.’
A statement was released by the club last week saying:-
‘The Pointer Club Committee welcomes the verdict of the court and the conclusion of what has been a very difficult situation for the club’s officers, the committee and all of the club’s members.
‘The Committee is shocked and saddened by the actions of Tony Powell and by the way in which he has abused the trust placed in him by the club members over so many years. He has systematically stolen from a large number of people, some of whom believed him to be their personal friend. There can be no excuse or justification for such dishonesty.
‘The Committee had no reason to suspect anything was out of order until January this year when it became apparent that there could be a financial irregularity. Officers sought advice from the Kennel Club and informed the police, from that point onwards, during the subsequent investigation and when Tony Powell was arrested and charged, members of the committee were advised that confidentiality should be maintained and the issues involved in the investigation could not be discussed even with members of the club.
‘This meant that it was not possible at that stage to give members a full explanation as to why Tony Powell has resigned as Honorary Secretary and an Acting Honorary Secretary was appointed in his place. The Committee is now in a position to do so and will be communicating with the club’s members as soon as possible.
‘Clearly the club has suffered a significant financial loss through the actions of Tony Powell. The task of the Committee will now be to consider and consult with members what action should be taken to minimise that loss.
‘The Committee would like to thank the police and The Kennel Club for their support and advice throughout this difficult time.
‘The Pointer Club was formed in 1960 in its present format and currently has almost five hundred and fifty Members. The aim of the Club is to hold shows and field trials in the interest of the Pointer breed, and to adopt any other means for the improvement and benefit of the breed.
‘This year the club has held its standard events to date including three field events, one open show, one championship show and educational days, with future activities planned as usual.’
The case will now be reviewed by the Kennel Club under its catch-all Rule A43 which deals with convictions of dishonesty and acts considered to prejudicial to the interests of the canine world.