Former USPCA boss Stephen Philpott handed nine month suspended sentence for defrauding the animal charity

FORMER USPCA Chief Executive Stephen Philpott was given a suspended prison sentence today for defrauding the animal charity out of over £40,000.

Detectives from PSNI’S Economic Crime Unit have welcomed the conviction of Stephen Philpott at Newry Crown Court on Thursday 13 December, for fraud by abuse of position.

During the 55-year-old’s time as Chief Executive of the USPCA, he used his position of trust to defraud the organisation over a period of eight years.

Philpott, of The Manse, Newry, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He has now paid back £40,000 to the charity.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing today, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: “This was a complex investigation by detectives from PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit who worked tirelessly to bring Stephen Philpott to court for his dishonesty.

“During his time as Chief Executive of the USPCA, Mr Philpott was financially responsible for the USPCA estate which included a Bessbrook property which was rented out to a tenant by the charity.

“Over the course of eight years, Mr Philpott received rental payments amounting to over £40,000 yet this money was never received by the USPCA.

“In an attempt to cover his tracks Mr Philpott claimed that the money was used to purchase goods and services for the charity but records showed that the items were actually paid for by money from the USPCA’s bank account.

“Despite having responsibility for ensuring the financial wellbeing of the charity, Mr Philpott blatantly abused his position and the trust that was placed in him.

“He deceived his colleagues in a bid to satisfy his own greed and fraudulently receive large amounts of money.

“Mr Philpott’s dishonest behaviour prevented the USPCA from receiving substantial funds; funds which could have been used to prevent cruelty and provide care for abandoned animals.

“Despite his role as Chief Executive of the USPCA at the time, it is clear that Mr Philpott did not subscribe to the values of the charity and chose to profit significantly at the expense of suffering animals in need of help.

“We will relentlessly pursue anyone who seeks to abuse a trusted position to commit fraud.”

Philpott is no longer the chief executive of the USPCA.

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