Three appear in court facing £300,000 fraud charges against Sunderland College

Sunderland College's city centre campus.
Sunderland College's city centre campus.

Three people have appeared in court facing fraud charges amounting to more than £300,000 being taken from Sunderland College.

Joanne Mounter, Paula Bolan and Kym Adrian Norman face an allegation of fraud by false representation.

Sunderland Magistrates' Court

Sunderland Magistrates' Court

The offences are alleged to have taken place between July 2014 and December 2015.

It is said they “dishonestly and intending thereby to make a gain for themselves or another, made representations to the college through invoices” for a total of £304,858, knowing they were untrue.

The Echo understands the charges related to their roles at Team Wearside, an apprenticeship and training organisation based in Norfolk Street in the city centre.

Mouter worked as its chief executive, Bolan as its quality and compliance manager and Norman as an assessor.

No one from the firm wished to comment when contacted.

Norman, 53, of Stratford Avenue, Grangetown, faces that single charge.

Bolan, 45, of Londsale, Birtley, Gateshead, and Mounter, 46, of Minster Court, Willington, County Durham, also face an allegation fraud by false representation relating to Pallion-based training charity Springboard for £154,674 between July 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016.

A spokesman for Springboard, which also has bases in Hetton, Peterlee, Hartlepool, Jarrow and Allenheads, said none of its staff were involved in the case.

He added: “Due to the ongoing court case, we are not able to comment further at this stage.”

Sunderland College has also confirmed the three were not employees.

Mounter is also alleged to have made representations to Mercedes-Benz Finance Limited on June 3, 2016, by forging the signatures of two others on a hire purchase agreement on a direct debit mandate on behalf of those signataries relating to Team Wearside.

The trio appeared before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, where the bench declined jurisdiction and sent the case to be heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

The three have been released on unconditional bail until that hearing, which is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, September 5.

No pleas were entered during the hearing, which lasted just a few minutes.