Man who defrauded Christian Fellowship Church of £78,000 could face jail

Pacemaker Press 22/5/2013  Laganside Court Building  in Belfast City centre  Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 22/5/2013 Laganside Court Building in Belfast City centre Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A Belfast man who admitted defrauding the Christian Fellowship Church of over £78,000 was warned on Friday that he may be jailed for his “egregious breach of trust”.

David Goodwin appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

The 43-year old, from Holland Park, admitted defrauding the church over a period spanning March 1, 2014 to May 13, 2016.

At the time o, Goodwin is understood to have held the position of the church’s financial advisor.

Goodwin admitted that while occupying a position “in which he was expected to safeguard, or not to act against the financial interests’ of the Christian Fellowship Church, he dishonestly abused that position ‘in that he used his position of trust to copy and create false invoices, create false credit notes, create false bills and set up false internal accounts to transfer funds to his accounts’ in the sum of £78,056.32 ... with the intention of ‘making a gain for himself or to cause loss’ to the Church.

When the charge was put to Goodwin, he replied ‘guilty.

Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins told the court that a compensation order was not being sought as Goodwin has “insufficient assets.”

The court also heard that several reports will now be prepared - including a psychologist’s report - ahead of sentencing.

Addressing Goodwin, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said he was aware of the circumstances of the case and told the defendant: “This was an egregious breach of trust on your part.”

Judge Miller also told Goodwin that he will be considering all sentencing option, one of which will be “an immediate custodial sentence.”

After there were no objections from the Crown, Goodwin was released on continuing bail and ordered to appear before the same court in May for sentencing.