A Co Down woman who held a senior post at a dog welfare charity has admitted fraud by abuse of her position involving an amount of more than £5,000.
Adrianne Peltz, 34, of Beatrice Road, Bangor, admitted using a Dogs Trust credit card for personal expenditure on dates between April 10 and October 12 2017.
Ms Peltz was the charity’s campaigns manager for Northern Ireland at the time of the fraud, but no longer works for the organisation.
She appeared at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Thursday where defence barrister Stephen Law said it was a guilty plea and that a pre-sentence report would be needed.
The defendant did not speak and stood near the public gallery during the short hearing.
Her lawyer said discussions had been ongoing relating to the exact amount of money involved in the fraud and he said the figure had now been “amended” to £5,393.
The full details of the case have yet to be outlined to the court and the matter was adjourned until September for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Ms Peltz has a high media profile in Northern Ireland.
She has a high media profile in Northern Ireland.
She has been a spokeswoman for Amnesty International in NI and, on Thursday, was pictured on the Victim Support NI – an independent charity supporting people affected by crime – website as being on its board of trustees.
Following Thursday’s court hearing, Victim Support NI said in a statement: “Victim Support NI is aware of legal proceedings involving Adrianne Peltz, which occurred prior to her voluntary role with Victim Support NI. The Board of Victim Support NI are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate steps in line with our code of conduct. We have no further comment to make at this time.”
The defendant is originally from South Africa but has lived in Northern Ireland for a number of years and her other leading roles included the student union sector.
She has also frequently been an outspoken campaigner and media commentator.
The Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK including one in Ballymena.
When the case first came to court in July, a Dogs Trust spokesperson said Ms Peltz had left its employment by the time the financial discrepancies were discovered.
Following Thursday’s court proceedings, a Dogs Trust spokesperson said in a new statement: “Dogs Trust relies on the enormous generosity of the public to continue caring for over 15,000 dogs every year. It is of paramount importance to us that we use our funds in the best way possible, so the public has confidence that their donations are being spent wisely.
“Events such as this are rare for us and we take them very seriously. We have taken appropriate steps to recover the funds where possible, so that we can put them back into the vital work we do. We would like to thank the police for their prompt assistance in this matter.”