Church treasurer from Stokenchurch jailed after stealing almost £100k from ecclesiastical funds

Bucks Free Press: Christian Taylor Christian Taylor

A CHURCH treasurer who stole almost £100,000 pounds from ecclesiastical funds by forging a female vicar's signature was sentenced to jail yesterday.

Christian Taylor, of George Road, Stokenchurch, even tried to thwart a bank probe into his frauds by taking an ‘imposter’ church official to a showdown meeting with a vigilant Natwest bank manager.

A judge heard that 61-year-old Taylor was responsible for the bank accounts of two churches as part of his duties serving on the Parochial Church Council.

He was caught making false claims to the Listed Places of Worship Scheme, a Government initiative that allows churches to claim back VAT on building works, which he then transferred into his own account.

He began the fraud just two months after volunteering as treasurer for St Nicholas Church in Great Kimble and All Saints Church in Little Kimble, Bucks.

Rachel Drake, prosecuting, told the court: "He was responsible for the bank accounts of the two churches.

"This defendant has made false claims to the Listed Places of Government Worship Scheme."

She explained that Taylor had begun volunteering in May 2008 and his crimes had gone undetected until May 2010 when a new manager was employed at the Natwest branch where the Kimble Parochial Church Council's accounts were held.

"Kay Smith, the new manager, was concerned about the frequency with which the defendant was going into the bank and withdrawing cash from the church accounts," said Miss Drake, who added that Taylor sometimes went in several times a day.

Mrs Smith wrote to one of the account's signatories, Michael Smith, but Taylor told Mr Smith he would deal with the issue.

In July 2010 he attended a meeting at the bank with a man pretending to be Mr Smith, who said the council was happy with his work.

A spot-check was also made on behalf of the LPW scheme, in which an architect mentioned in one of Taylor's claims was asked if there was an invoice attached and it was found there was not.

Representatives met with the real Mr Smith and discovered Taylor had used an imposter in the bank meeting.

Four fraudulent claims in which Taylor had forged the signature of Janet Henderson, the newly appointed vicar of the two churches, had been made to the LPW scheme - totalling £54,535 pounds.

The court heard Taylor also stole £42,358 pounds from other church income.

Judge Francis Sheridan, sitting at Aylesbury Crown Court, heard that Taylor had doctored independent accounts provided by JJS Book-keeping to hide his withdrawals from church council members.

When police arrested Taylor in March 2011 they discovered one of the fake invoices used on his computer as well as handwritten notes recording his behaviour. He gave ‘no comment’ to all questions in interview.

Miss Drake said: "Police have been trying to identify the other person who must have been working alongside this defendant but he said he can't remember the meeting at the bank.

"Not only has this put the church council into severe financial difficulties, it has also had a detrimental effect on relationships in this community."

The court heard that Taylor had several previous convictions for theft from the 1960s and 1970s including theft by an employee in 1971.

Martin Bloor, mitigating, told Judge Sheridan: "He accepts his behaviour showed planning and sophistication in relation to the documents used."

The court heard that £54,000 pounds had yet to be recovered for the council and that Taylor suffered from mental health issues including anxiety and depression, for which he is undergoing treatment. His marriage ended in November 2011.

Mr Bloor said: "He says he did not intend to hurt anybody personally but accepts it has and is ashamed of the effect it has had on these people.”

Judge Sheridan said Taylor acted "deliberately and systematically" in beginning the fraud so soon after his appointment in May 2008.

He said: "Everybody took you on face value as a thoroughly good egg, but sure as eggs is eggs, they did not know about your old convictions.”

He added that the Rev. Henderson, Mr Smith and all other church representatives were blameless victims of Taylor's fraud, which had also cost the PCC more than £22,000 pounds in legal fees and investigations.

He said: "I wish to pay tribute to the bank manager, who excelled in her vigilance in keeping a close eye on the affairs of her customers.”

Taylor, who works as a telephone canvasser for Status Glass, was sentenced to a total of 27 months in prison for two charges of fraud and two of transferring criminal property. A third charge of fraud and one of possession of articles for use in fraud were ordered to lie on file.

An order to recover the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act was also made with a hearing to take place on March 14.

Comments (18)

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11:08pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

Perhaps the authorities were thrown off the scent by Taylor's first name.
Perhaps the authorities were thrown off the scent by Taylor's first name. Undercover Euro Yob

11:15pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

And, of course, well done Ms Kay Smith!
And, of course, well done Ms Kay Smith! Undercover Euro Yob

12:35am Sat 4 Jan 14

J B Blackett says...

'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away'
.
What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).
'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away' . What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ). J B Blackett

4:06pm Sat 4 Jan 14

DocD says...

Think we need to inform Dominic Grieve about this level of corruption and fraud amongst the Christian community!

http://www.bucksfree
press.co.uk/news/nat
ional/news/10830244.
Grieve_sorry_over_co
rruption_remark/
Think we need to inform Dominic Grieve about this level of corruption and fraud amongst the Christian community! http://www.bucksfree press.co.uk/news/nat ional/news/10830244. Grieve_sorry_over_co rruption_remark/ DocD

7:20pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Robert.M says...

DocD wrote:
Think we need to inform Dominic Grieve about this level of corruption and fraud amongst the Christian community!

http://www.bucksfree

press.co.uk/news/nat

ional/news/10830244.

Grieve_sorry_over_co

rruption_remark/
Why???????? he will only do his usual thing, sit on his backside and ignore it.
[quote][p][bold]DocD[/bold] wrote: Think we need to inform Dominic Grieve about this level of corruption and fraud amongst the Christian community! http://www.bucksfree press.co.uk/news/nat ional/news/10830244. Grieve_sorry_over_co rruption_remark/[/p][/quote]Why???????? he will only do his usual thing, sit on his backside and ignore it. Robert.M

2:12pm Sun 5 Jan 14

J B Blackett says...

He does not look very happy - in spite of apparently stealing and using nearly £150,00 (very like bankers and politicians do)
.
But he got caught - just like banker s and politicians were.
And has now to take the consequences.
Not at all like the bankers and politicians most of whom have avoided even a telling -off or slap on the wrist from their political Bosses.
.
Perhaps if he had had a shave , smartened himself up , wore a good suit and smiled and talked and lied in an oily , condescending and smarmy way , he might have got away with it.
.
And then he would even now still be sneering and smiling at us just like the crooked lying bankers and politicians are.
He does not look very happy - in spite of apparently stealing and using nearly £150,00 (very like bankers and politicians do) . But he got caught - just like banker s and politicians were. And has now to take the consequences. Not at all like the bankers and politicians most of whom have avoided even a telling -off or slap on the wrist from their political Bosses. . Perhaps if he had had a shave , smartened himself up , wore a good suit and smiled and talked and lied in an oily , condescending and smarmy way , he might have got away with it. . And then he would even now still be sneering and smiling at us just like the crooked lying bankers and politicians are. J B Blackett

4:27pm Sun 5 Jan 14

J B Blackett says...

However he still has one of the most miserable depressing faces we have ever seen displayed on a photo in the Bucks Free Press.
.
You see some people are never happy no matter how much money they have stolen off others.
.
You see that Tony Blah-blah , John Berk (who ?) , the chap who loved his Duck House and others of that ilk - they are always smiling. And in what appears to be a genuine sincere way and always very photogenically too. Why can't this sad-looking embezzler give us all a bit of a smile for the camera ?
.
He looks so much sadder than even that ex-Labour (formerly conservative) MP / Euro-MP with an over-refined plummy voice who got sent to jail just before Christmas for fiddling thousands on his expenses. Even that political criminal had a smile on his face , albeit a sardonic sort of sneaky one.
However he still has one of the most miserable depressing faces we have ever seen displayed on a photo in the Bucks Free Press. . You see some people are never happy no matter how much money they have stolen off others. . You see that Tony Blah-blah , John Berk (who ?) , the chap who loved his Duck House and others of that ilk - they are always smiling. And in what appears to be a genuine sincere way and always very photogenically too. Why can't this sad-looking embezzler give us all a bit of a smile for the camera ? . He looks so much sadder than even that ex-Labour (formerly conservative) MP / Euro-MP with an over-refined plummy voice who got sent to jail just before Christmas for fiddling thousands on his expenses. Even that political criminal had a smile on his face , albeit a sardonic sort of sneaky one. J B Blackett

3:43pm Mon 6 Jan 14

ArnyP_HW says...

Is there some signicance I'm missing over adding the word "female" behind the word vicar at the start of this piece?

Would they say "male vicar" were it the case?
Is there some signicance I'm missing over adding the word "female" behind the word vicar at the start of this piece? Would they say "male vicar" were it the case? ArnyP_HW

9:14pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

ArnyP_HW wrote:
Is there some signicance I'm missing over adding the word "female" behind the word vicar at the start of this piece?

Would they say "male vicar" were it the case?
A Male Vicar writes:

We male vicars, (while maintaining our purity and decency) are shrewd, sensible, down-to-earth, worldly-wise individuals who would have seen through this chap Christian Taylor’s pretensions after a few puffs of our manly pipe across the desk at the vicarage, and, after a few shrewd questions to establish the facts of his case, we would, without being rude, have coldly dismissed him - a mere woman though would have been taken in by his plausible smooth talking. (As was the case.)

(While we are on this subject I notice that, owing to a typing error, the man at the bank who first suspected Taylor is referred to as ‘Mrs Kay Smith’ by the newspaper chappie.)
[quote][p][bold]ArnyP_HW[/bold] wrote: Is there some signicance I'm missing over adding the word "female" behind the word vicar at the start of this piece? Would they say "male vicar" were it the case?[/p][/quote]A Male Vicar writes: We male vicars, (while maintaining our purity and decency) are shrewd, sensible, down-to-earth, worldly-wise individuals who would have seen through this chap Christian Taylor’s pretensions after a few puffs of our manly pipe across the desk at the vicarage, and, after a few shrewd questions to establish the facts of his case, we would, without being rude, have coldly dismissed him - a mere woman though would have been taken in by his plausible smooth talking. (As was the case.) (While we are on this subject I notice that, owing to a typing error, the man at the bank who first suspected Taylor is referred to as ‘Mrs Kay Smith’ by the newspaper chappie.) Undercover Euro Yob

9:29pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

A Male Vicar writes:

I hope that answers your question Mr P_HW.
A Male Vicar writes: I hope that answers your question Mr P_HW. Undercover Euro Yob

9:33pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

I think the real significance of the word 'female' is that in a presumably traditional Christian society like the Church of England, you would expect a man to follow conservative norms, and help and protect a woman, and it shows what a complete douche bag this bloke Taylor is that he robbed a woman who trusted him professionally (as she thought).
I think the real significance of the word 'female' is that in a presumably traditional Christian society like the Church of England, you would expect a man to follow conservative norms, and help and protect a woman, and it shows what a complete douche bag this bloke Taylor is that he robbed a woman who trusted him professionally (as she thought). Undercover Euro Yob

9:41pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

J B Blackett wrote:
He does not look very happy - in spite of apparently stealing and using nearly £150,00 (very like bankers and politicians do)
.
But he got caught - just like banker s and politicians were.
And has now to take the consequences.
Not at all like the bankers and politicians most of whom have avoided even a telling -off or slap on the wrist from their political Bosses.
.
Perhaps if he had had a shave , smartened himself up , wore a good suit and smiled and talked and lied in an oily , condescending and smarmy way , he might have got away with it.
.
And then he would even now still be sneering and smiling at us just like the crooked lying bankers and politicians are.
Perhaps if he had had a shave , smartened himself up , wore a good suit and smiled and talked and lied …

Nah - Taylor should have told them all in a combative manner that he was privatising the funds so that market place efficiencies could ensure efficiency savings for God and his team at Great and Little Kimble - nobody would have dared answer him then.
[quote][p][bold]J B Blackett[/bold] wrote: He does not look very happy - in spite of apparently stealing and using nearly £150,00 (very like bankers and politicians do) . But he got caught - just like banker s and politicians were. And has now to take the consequences. Not at all like the bankers and politicians most of whom have avoided even a telling -off or slap on the wrist from their political Bosses. . Perhaps if he had had a shave , smartened himself up , wore a good suit and smiled and talked and lied in an oily , condescending and smarmy way , he might have got away with it. . And then he would even now still be sneering and smiling at us just like the crooked lying bankers and politicians are.[/p][/quote][italic] Perhaps if he had had a shave , smartened himself up , wore a good suit and smiled and talked and lied … [/italic] Nah - Taylor should have told them all in a combative manner that he was [italic] privatising[italic] the funds so that market place efficiencies could ensure efficiency savings for God and his team at Great and Little Kimble - nobody would have dared answer him then. Undercover Euro Yob

9:44pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

J B Blackett wrote:
'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away'
.
What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).
Surely that is a quote from Margaret Thatcher.
[quote][p][bold]J B Blackett[/bold] wrote: 'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away' . What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).[/p][/quote]Surely that is a quote from Margaret Thatcher. Undercover Euro Yob

2:40pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

Undercover Euro Yob wrote:
J B Blackett wrote:
'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away'
.
What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).
Surely that is a quote from Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher - a considerable privatiser.
[quote][p][bold]Undercover Euro Yob[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]J B Blackett[/bold] wrote: 'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away' . What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).[/p][/quote]Surely that is a quote from Margaret Thatcher.[/p][/quote]Margaret Thatcher - a considerable privatiser. Undercover Euro Yob

10:11am Thu 9 Jan 14

ShamTV says...

He looks like Walter White from Breaking Bad
He looks like Walter White from Breaking Bad ShamTV

4:30pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

J B Blackett wrote:
'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away' . What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).
Personally I always can't help thinking that these Christians should be thrown to the lions in the Colosseum!
[quote][p][bold]J B Blackett[/bold] wrote: 'To him that hath shall be be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away' . What a strange upside-down money-oriented religion this Christianity appears to be (second-hand quote from Rembrandt , who never got paid for his paintings of various ecclesiastical folk - allegedly ).[/p][/quote]Personally I always can't help thinking that these Christians should be thrown to the lions in the Colosseum! Undercover Euro Yob

6:15pm Thu 9 Jan 14

J B Blackett says...

The Apollo is possibly a better situated and a more comfortable venue and the audience there seems to be always easy to please and laughs uproariously and continuously , no matter how appalling the performance is.
.
That might to connected to the fact that they get in free - and thus they feel socially obliged to demonstrate their gratitude in a public arena.
The Apollo is possibly a better situated and a more comfortable venue and the audience there seems to be always easy to please and laughs uproariously and continuously , no matter how appalling the performance is. . That might to connected to the fact that they get in free - and thus they feel socially obliged to demonstrate their gratitude in a public arena. J B Blackett

10:16pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Lawrence Linehan says...

(That was my Christmas joke that I always say when people are singing carols but this Christmas just gone I forgot - better late than never.)
(That was my Christmas joke that I always say when people are singing carols but this Christmas just gone I forgot - better late than never.) Lawrence Linehan

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