Birmingham & Black Country

Ex-Birmingham Dogs Home boss jailed for £900k fraud

Simon Price Image copyright PA
Image caption Simon Price was the chief executive of the Birmingham Dogs Home

The former boss of Birmingham Dogs Home has been jailed for five years for defrauding the charity of £900,000 over a four-year period.

Simon Price, 53, of Somerton Drive, Solihull, had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud by abuse of position.

He admitted fraud for sums ranging between £9,690 for a false invoice and £399,350 connected to the sale of a house.

His ex-partner Alayna Price, 39, was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Alayna Price, who is seven months pregnant and of Hill Village Road, Sutton Coldfield, admitted five counts of the same charge, relating to "legacy payments" amounting to about £254,000.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Police said the fraud was "motivated by pure greed"

At a previous hearing, the court heard the mother of one - the charity's commercial manager - had paid back £130,000 to the home.

She cried as Judge Patrick Thomas QC said her sentence would be suspended.

He told Mrs Price: "You are sole carer [to a child] and you are pregnant with another child, due in February.

"These are matters no court could conceivably ignore."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Alayna Price used the money left to the charity in wills to fund the couple's wedding in 2016

Mr Price, a gambling addict, calculated to police that he had spent £700,000 through his account on the Betfair website from 2009.

Police said the couple's fraud was "motivated by pure greed".

None of the money stolen by Mr Price had been repaid, and is unlikely to be recovered, the court was told.

John Wheatly, chairman of Birmingham Dogs Home, said staff felt "very badly let down" after the "serious breach of trust".

The offences at the Solihull-based charity happened between February 2012 and June last year.

Tracy Howarth, from the Charity Commission, said she hoped the sentencing "sends a strong message that the abuse of charities for personal gain will not be tolerated".

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