THE former bookkeeper of the Big Hearts Community Trust has admitted embezzling £53,652 after her daughter was threatened by people she owed.
Kelly Arundel, 33, from Bainsford, Falkirk, admitted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to stealing the money from the charity, which is based at Tynecastle.
The court heard she simply transferred cash from the charity’s funds to pay off her debts.
Fiscal depute Melanie Ward told the court that Arundel had been administrator and bookkeeper of the charity and had been the sole person in the office at the stadium.
The money coming to the charity was mainly in cash donations and in August 2013 it was noticed there was a delay in donations being transferred to the account. A member of the charity gained access to the stadium office and, said Ms Ward, “was immediately able to see transfers had been made to persons he did not recognise”.
“She initially denied any knowledge of these transfers, but then admitted it and became tearful,” said Ms Ward.
“She said she had transferred the money to bank accounts under her control or persons she knew.”
A few hours after the meeting, Ms Ward said Arundel had sent “a pretty frank e-mail admitting she was in trouble with some dangerous people that she owed large sums of money to”.
Defence solicitor Paul Dunne told the court that Arundel was now an inmate at Cornton Vale, having been jailed for 27 months in November last year for offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The reason for the offences was, he said, because she owed significant sums of money to people and was selling drugs in order to pay them back.
“She has a four-year-old daughter and threats had been made, and it was suggested she take the money from her work. She had to consider whether these people would have harmed her daughter,” said Mr Dunne.
Sheriff Paul Arthurson deferred sentence for a background report until next month.
The Big Hearts Community Trust began in 2006 as the club’s main vehicle for investing in community development projects. Set up as an independent charity, it has established a number of different programmes designed to offer sporting, health and educational activities for local people.