Oxfam fraudster got £29,000 'golden handshake' when he left charity

Oxford Mail: McKenzie-Green McKenzie-Green

FRAUDSTER Edward McKenzie-Green received a “golden handshake” of £29,000 to leave Oxfam after he had defrauded the charity of more than £64,000.

McKenzie-Green, the former head of counter-fraud at the international aid charity, was yesterday jailed for two years and five months.

He had been swindling funds – which could have bought 600 latrines, 8,000 buckets for carrying and storing water, and hygiene kits for 1,400 families – at a time when he was investigating misconduct by aid workers following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

That disaster killed an estimated 160,000 people and made 895,000 homeless in 2010.

Judge Wendy Joseph told him: “You have taken from those who desperately needed substantial sums of money. Worse, you have undermined the public confidence in a charitable institution.

“You were head of a department set up to counter fraud.

“This was a profound abuse of the trust invested in you.”

McKenzie-Green, of The Leys, Chipping Norton, resigned from his job in November 2011 and the court heard he left with a £29,000 “golden handshake”.

Prosecutor Adam King said the charity’s internal investigations into McKenzie-Green began in December 2010.

He said: “He had demonstrated an erratic, disorganised and even combative approach to his work.”

McKenzie-Green was sent to Haiti to investigate other aid workers but concerns about him persisted after he returned and he faced disciplinary proceedings. He eventually resigned.

An Oxfam spokeswoman last night could not say whether or not the charity would try to get back the £29,000 “golden handshake”.

Following his resignation investigators discovered he had filed 17 bogus invoices from two companies totalling £64,612.58 between February and November 2011.

One of the invoices contained the phrase “Haiti Confidential”.

The father-of-one was arrested in April 2012 and he had claimed he was the victim of a corrupt conspiracy among senior staff at Oxfam, before he admitted fraud by abuse of position.

He finally admitted one count of fraud by abuse of position.

In a statement read out in court, Oxfam’s counter-fraud adviser, Phillip Dunn said the case had damaged the reputation of the charity.

He said: “Oxfam is trying to become a world leader in counter-fraud investigation and to have the head of counter fraud contribute to that is immeasurably damaging.”

McKenzie-Green’s barrister Matthew Sherrat said his client had been addicted to prescription medication and said: “At the same time his marriage, which he was attempting to hold together was failing.”

McKenzie-Green had been “paranoid” and was treated in hospital for a month.

Mr Dunn added: “He was putting money aside effectively in the expectation of losing his job”.

Oxfam is still collecting money for the recovery effort in Haiti following the earthquake.

Spokeswoman Christina Corbett said: “His fraudulent activities were made apparent by Oxfam’s own counter-fraud measures. Since then our strict background checks on future employees have been strengthened further.

“We have also introduced measures to stop this kind of incident being able to happen again.

“Now that Mackenzie-Green has been sentenced, we will continue to make every effort to recover the funds lost.”

It is understood that this could involve further court action to reclaim the stolen £64,000.

Dc Joseph Hines, of City of London Police, which investigated the case, said: “Edward McKenzie-Green was employed to protect Oxfam from fraud but instead went down a path that saw him con the charity out of tens of thousands of pounds and then fritter it all away.

“What makes his crime even worse is that the money he took and spent had been donated to help people in need. The loss of his job and his liberty reflect the depths to which he sank in pursuit of his own personal pleasure.”

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Comments (5)

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9:52am Wed 28 May 14

bart-on simpson says...

Thought such things were called Golden Parachutes.

Are NGOs any better or worse than the public sector or private sector?
Thought such things were called Golden Parachutes. Are NGOs any better or worse than the public sector or private sector? bart-on simpson
  • Score: 3

1:22pm Wed 28 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

bart-on simpson wrote:
Thought such things were called Golden Parachutes.

Are NGOs any better or worse than the public sector or private sector?
Probably worse.

The cost of "gagging" money is likely to be less than the risk to fund raising from embarrassing newspaper stories.

Bit concerned about what £64,000 will buy too, the information has been (deliberately?) supplied in a way that is difficult to break-down and analyse
[quote][p][bold]bart-on simpson[/bold] wrote: Thought such things were called Golden Parachutes. Are NGOs any better or worse than the public sector or private sector?[/p][/quote]Probably worse. The cost of "gagging" money is likely to be less than the risk to fund raising from embarrassing newspaper stories. Bit concerned about what £64,000 will buy too, the information has been (deliberately?) supplied in a way that is difficult to break-down and analyse Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

2:12pm Wed 28 May 14

robbo81 says...

£64k wouldn't have even covered the cost of a quarter of it's marketing campaign. I'd say generally a response rate for charities is under 5% and average donations are probably somewhere in the £10-20 region. So it's more the damage done to the trust of all those who contributed and the general embarrassment of being defrauded by your own anti-fraud manager. The fact they suspected him of something but still gave him a severage package is weird though. He must've been on some salary to get £29k send off for a years worth of work. Unless he'd been there longer, the article isn't too clear.
£64k wouldn't have even covered the cost of a quarter of it's marketing campaign. I'd say generally a response rate for charities is under 5% and average donations are probably somewhere in the £10-20 region. So it's more the damage done to the trust of all those who contributed and the general embarrassment of being defrauded by your own anti-fraud manager. The fact they suspected him of something but still gave him a severage package is weird though. He must've been on some salary to get £29k send off for a years worth of work. Unless he'd been there longer, the article isn't too clear. robbo81
  • Score: 4

3:15pm Wed 28 May 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

There will be a POCA hearing. Put your money in the Salvation Army tin!
There will be a POCA hearing. Put your money in the Salvation Army tin! Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 2

8:48pm Wed 28 May 14

Interestedinoxford says...

Good luck to the people planning to run the Oxford Half Marathon in aid of Oxfam..they need your money to pay the 29K severance they paid when the crook resigned.
Good luck to the people planning to run the Oxford Half Marathon in aid of Oxfam..they need your money to pay the 29K severance they paid when the crook resigned. Interestedinoxford
  • Score: 2

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