Woman jailed for her part in defrauding £2m from Hemel Hempstead religious organisation

The 54-year-old had received over £800,000 in the form of electronic transfers direct to her bank account and other ‘gifts’

Monday, 13th September 2021, 1:29 pm

A woman has been jailed for fraud after being found guilty of her part in defrauding more than £2m from a religious organisation in Hemel Hempstead.

Amanda Arckless, 54, of Eachwick, Newcastle Upon Tyne, appeared at St Albans Crown Court, on Friday, September 10, after being found guilty of fraud by false representation and sentenced to three years in prison.

Arckless became involved with an employee of Hemel Hempstead based Morris Curello World Evangelism in 2013, Stephen Ashton, who was convicted in 2017 for defrauding his employer of more than £2 million.

Amanda Arckless, 54,was sentenced to three years in prison

Over a period of four years, Arckless took advantage of Ashton, whom she believed to be a very wealthy man.

Also claiming to be his employee as a marketing consultant to disguise her financial gain.

Arckless had received over £800,000 from Ashton in the form of electronic transfers direct to her bank account and other ‘gifts’, between December 2013 and August 2017, enabling her to live a lavish lifestyle.

Following Ashton’s arrest in 2017, Arckless moved the criminal proceeds from one account to another, even using a safety deposit box to hide the money from the police.

During the trial Arckless was also found guilty of mortgage fraud, for providing a fraudulent job contract and payslips as part of a mortgage application in May 2016 to the value of £667,680.

Investigator Kim Parker of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Arckless believed Ashton was extremely wealthy and had little interest in where the money had come from.

"After his arrest she made no attempt to contact the police or raise concerns over the hundreds of thousands of pounds she had accrued. In fact, she went to great lengths to deliberately hide the stolen money.

“After months of meticulous investigation, we were able to gather enough evidence to build a case against Arckless and prove she had benefitted from Ashton’s illegal activity.

"Together, with the assistance of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) We are now attempting to recover whatever funds remain in her possession through the Proceeds of Crime Act, by seizing assets belonging to the offender.

"The sentence handed out reflects the scale of the fraud and the impact her actions had on the victim.”