Charity thief scoffed at sentence on Facebook

Joanne Caplis
Joanne Caplis

A WOMAN who stole money from the Wigan charity she was working for has mocked her sentence on Facebook.

When Joanne Caplis was ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid work after a trial at Wigan Magistrates’ Court, she sneeringly posted on the social media site: “80 hours community service ha bloody ha.”

She then used offensive language to describe her former employer.

The 43-year-old today insisted she was innocent and that she was making fun of the system that found her guilty rather than scoffing at the leniency of her sentence.

This was despite being found guilty of two counts of committing fraud by altering banking spreadsheets while working at Shopmobility in Wigan.

She was given a community order, and had to pay £50 compensation, plus a victim surcharge of £60.

She was immediately dismissed from her paid role at Wigan’s Market Street branch when bosses noticed irregularities with the accounts in January.

David Eccles, general manager of Shopmobility, which provides scooters for disabled clients, said: “I have known Joanne for more than 15 years. She was a volunteer and then became a part-time paid employee.

“We noticed the inaccuracies by chance and found proof she stole £50. We all knew it could only be one person who could have done it. There was only one paid employee who did the banking on those particular days.

“We sacked her on the spot and her reaction was disbelief.

“We feel really disappointed and hurt that someone we trusted had done this.

“Our clients - people from Wigan and Leigh - trusted her. They were all friends and she has let us all down.

“We don’t have a lot of cash and we are struggling. In a week we probably take between £200 and £300, so taking money makes it even harder.”

Caplis, of Crown Grove, Leigh, who had worked for Shopmobility since 2004, today maintains she didn’t take the money, saying: “I am not sorry because I have not done anything wrong.

“I posted on Facebook ‘ha bloody ha’ because I think it is ridiculous.

“I never hid anything from anyone. Things have been revealed about another member of staff, but they seem to brush that off.

“I went to see a solicitor about the way bosses sacked me, as they did not follow protocol.

“They only reason there is no tribunal is because I couldn’t afford it.

“I feel so angry about it. I have been there 18 years and my former partner, Gary Kay, who is the father of my son, was the chairman there before he died 11 years ago, aged 53.

“We did quite a bit of fund-raising.”