Man jailed for role in family plot to defraud Jewish charity of £1.7m

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The Independent Online

A man who was part of a family plot which defrauded a Jewish charity of £1.7m was jailed yesterday for 18 months.

Andrew Camp, 29, conspired with his father, brother and other relatives in a "culture of fraud" to harvest "rich pickings" from the United Synagogue in a prolonged and systematic sting, Southwark Crown Court was told. Their activities, which centred on Waltham Abbey and East Ham cemeteries in east London, caused the cost of burials to treble.

Andrew Camp's father, Eric, was regional foreman at the two cemeteries, with Andrew the foreman at Waltham Abbey and another son, Mark, in a similar position at East Ham. The family members took large amounts of petty cash, authorised invoices from bogus companies and over-ordered supplies, with surpluses being sold on the black market.

Although Andrew Camp was jailed and his sister-in-law Jacqueline faces a similar fate next week, proceedings against Eric and Mark were dismissed – and no evidence was offered against a charity superintendent.

Andrew Camp, from Braintree, Essex, admitted conspiracy to defraud the United Synagogue, and benefiting by £75,000 personally.

The prosecution claimed the total amount obtained through his fraudulent activity was £589,000 – a figure disputed by the defendant's legal team.

Jacqueline Camp is said to have obtained £53,000, a large portion of which she got by sending invoices for plants and flowers she claimed to have supplied through her florist's business Forget-Me-Not Flowers.

Howard Vagg, for the prosecution, said a "distortion" was eventually noticed between the charity's cemeteries at Bushey and Willesden and the sites said to be involved in the fraud. Mr Vagg told the jury the only "sensible inference" for the bulk of supplies ordered was "goods must have been going out the back door".

An investigation was launched and the Camps were dismissed, severing the family's 20-year link with the charity. They were later charged.

Sentencing Andrew Camp, Judge Bathurst Norman said: "There was a culture of fraud in this whole set up, which you fell into." He noted, however, that the charity appeared to be "satisfied" to pay "false invoices".

The United Synagogue is an organisation of about 60 synagogues and its burial society administers 1,250 funerals a year. The organisation was accused of being "ripe for fraud".