A former finance manager Jenny McDonagh for Kensington and Chelsea Council has admitted to defrauding tens of thousands of pounds from the Grenfell To
A former finance manager Jenny McDonagh for Kensington and Chelsea Council has admitted to defrauding tens of thousands of pounds from the Grenfell Tower victim fund.
Jenny McDonagh took £62,000 meant for those directly affected by the blaze.
McDonagh, from Abbey Wood, south east London, pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud, one of theft and another of concealing criminal property, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutor Robert Simpson described her as a “serial fraudster” who “lives beyond her means and gambles”.
He said she used the stolen funds for a “trip to Dubai, Los Angeles, meals in expensive restaurants, hair appointments and personal luxuries for herself”.
He added: “She spent quite a lot of money on online gambling.
“She spent £32,000, of which £16,000 was winnings, and lost roughly £16,000 in online gambling.”
The prosecutor said she was also under investigation for suspected frauds against her former employers, Medway NHS Trust in Kent and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
“It’s suggested she obtained around £35,000 by means of fraud when working for the NHS trust,” he added.
He said the alleged fraud against the museum “hadn’t got far enough for her to obtain anything from it, but it had potential”.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy that killed some 72 people, survivors whose homes were destroyed were eligible to receive £5,000. They are also able to claim a £10,000 “fresh start” fund, which is intended to pay for their entire relocation costs.
According to the latest official statistics released in June, £28.4m had been raised by charities for the victims of the fire, £25.6m of which had been distributed to community organisations helping the survivors and bereaved.
The public inquiry into the blaze, which started in May, will resume on Monday with a procedural hearing, followed by testimony from firefighters who responded to the inferno.
McDonagh was released on conditional bail with an electronic tag and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court at a later date.
A Kensington and Chelsea Council spokesman said: “We take fraud very seriously and we have always taken action to root out Grenfell fraud wherever it takes place.”