A MANAGER who embezzled more than £10,000 from a charity which helps autism sufferers has been spared jail.

Henna Hussain stole the cash from MAIN, a Middlesbrough based charity, in order to feed her mounting debts.

Hussain, who resigned after the fraud was uncovered by the diligence of a financial officer, pretended the money she stole was for legitimate purposes and sent e-mails to that effect from the account of the charity’s chair of trustees Robert Harris without his knowledge.

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In a statement he said he too had considered resigning after Hussain wrongly implied he was implicit and had given his approval to the transactions.

Mr Harris said the charity was in a vulnerable financial position and also feared losing trust it had built up with clients and donors.

Hussain, 30, of Westbourne Road, Middlesbrough, who was employed as a resource manager, admitted fraud amounting to £10,331 between June 1 and September 14 last year.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, explained how a series of withdrawals were made from the company account with no explanation nor receipts for the relevant expenditure produced.

Hussain claimed she had given £4,000 to another employee for the purposes of training, whereas in fact the training was free.

She also took £2,500 after falsely claiming she had paid an imaginary fine imposed on the charity.

Richard Bennett, mitigating, said Hussain suffered from stress and depression and had “gone off the rails” after facing very significant financial problems.

Mr Bennett said: “She feels shame and embarrassment. This is a lady unlikely to re-offend.”

Judge Tony Briggs said Hussain had committed a serious breach of trust but the mitigation, Hussain’s early guilty plea and her previous good character meant he could suspend a 15 month jail sentence on her for two years.

He also imposed a 20 day rehabilitation requirement.