Back in November last year the former finance officer for Visit Isle of Wight pleaded guilty of committing fraud and theft to the tune of £33,875.
Today (Monday) Joanne Lisa Thornton, 56, of Sheffield appeared at Isle of Wight Crown Court, where she was been handed a suspended sentence.
Judge orders money to be repaid in full
Sentencing had been deferred in November last year to allow Mrs Thornton – wife of former Visit Isle of Wight CEO David Thornton – the opportunity to repay the money.
The judge has ordered that the money be repaid in full in seven days, and Thornton was handed a 20 month suspended sentence on each charge to run concurrently.
The CP’s court reporter say in their article that the full amount owed, plus inflation, has been passed to Mrs Thornton’s solicitors to pay back to Visit Isle of Wight.
Visit MD: Forensic accountants brought in to investigate
Will Myles, Managing Director of Visit Isle of Wight said:
“Visit Isle of Wight acknowledges and respects the sentence the court has handed down to Joanne Thornton today
“The fraud and theft came to light initially following an internal audit of our finances. To trace the missing monies, a team of specialised forensic accountants were brought in, equipped to deal with the intricacies of a crime such as this.
“The findings of the report were then handed to the police, who initiated proceedings against our former employee.
“These crimes have been committed by Joanne Thornton alone, and she is responsible for this situation.”
Myles: Processes in place to avoid a repeat
Will Myles also had this important message to Wight BID levy payers and Voluntary Contributors Visit Isle of Wight:
“I continue to assure our Wight BID levy payers that all monies received have been used fully and in the correct manner in line with the Wight BID structure and plans.
“I have put in place an array of people, processes and policies to ensure that this situation does not happen again.
“This day is a “line in the sand” and we must move on and do what we are best at, namely marketing the Isle of Wight and bringing visitors to our shores, which annually accounts for £303 millions of economic impact.
“Visit Isle of Wight has dealt with this situation, but it was not of our making – it lies firmly at the door of Joanne Thornton, who we trusted, but she stole from the organisation.”
Clarification about money being paid back added