Finance chief steals from school to boost home equity

Finance chief steals from school to boost home equity


 A trusted financial manager stole £120,000 from a school with a £2 million overspend to pay for home improvements. 

Mark Shepherd, business manager at Wentworth High School in Eccles, was hired to help the school tackle a £2 million pound over-spend.

Instead he decided to use his position to illegally pay for a string of improvements at his home in Westhoughton. 

Shepherd, who was paid £37,000 a year, even used the school’s money to buy a Smart car and sell it on, pocketing the money, and paying off his £30,000 credit-card debts.  

Shepherd, who had negative equity on the family home as well as huge credit-card debts, started fraudulently using the school’s money just weeks after being appointed in 2007. 

Det Con Keith Thompson, of Salford CID, speaking to Manchester Evening News, said of Shepherd: "He spent a lot of money on their home to improve it to get out of negative equity with an extension and a new bathroom.” 

“He always thought things would turn around. He was trying to improve the value of his house,” he added.

Shepherd’s first offence was taking £500 by cashing cheques meant for the school's petty cash and by November 2007 he had taken £12,000.


In a bid to conceal the fraud from his church-going wife he told her he had won the cash on premium bonds.  

The fraudster was only caught when a colleague discovered the school was renting two storage units at a Ready Steady Store centre in Salford – one of which was being used for Shepherd’s personal belongings.  

He was arrested and brought before Manchester Minshull Street crown court, where he admitted four counts of fraud by abuse of position between June 2007 – December 2010. 

Overall, he carried out 37 fraudulent transactions, worth £121,732. 

Shepherd will be sentenced on September 19.

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