Published: 12 June 2019
Rebecca Mason was employed by Rugeley Town Council from April 2008 and had been a valued and trusted member of staff. In that time, she had been promoted from Finance Officer to Assistant Town Clerk which was the position she held at the time of the offences. Her responsibilities included administering and monitoring the financial systems of the council including the payment of accounts.
Rebecca Mason was dismissed from the Town Council on 26th February 2019. She was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct following a detailed investigation, which was carried out by an independent investigator on behalf of the Town Council. The matter was also referred to the police and was subject to their investigation.
Following a guilty plea of fraud involving the theft of £218,418 from Rugeley Town Council, Rebecca Mason appeared at Stafford Crown Court on 12th June 2019 to be sentenced.
Rugeley Town Council held reserves to cover unforeseen contingencies and in anticipation of specific future projects. The biggest single element of those reserves resulted from the sale of the former council offices in 2007 together with budgeting over the last 10 + years. It is these reserves which have been stolen.
Amongst the planned future projects and improvements to services, was the proposal for improved play facilities, enhancements to the towns Christmas Lights and decorations and modernisation of facilities at the Rose Theatre. The theft of this money will inevitably mean that the future of these projects may have to be reviewed. It will also mean that over the next 10 years, the council will need to budget to cover contingencies such as maintenance work.
Rugeley Town Council will continue to provide the current facilities and operate as normal.