Police investigating alleged Australian fire charity auction fraud *H&H Plus*

  • Cambridgeshire Police and Action Fraud have confirmed to H&H that they are investigating allegations the money raised via the We Support Australia Charity Auction facebook group has not been passed on to the charities in Australia as expected...

    Police are investigating allegations that money raised through a charity auction in aid of those affected by the Australian bushfires was kept by the auction’s organiser.

     H&H reported last month (news, 9 January) that one of a number of initiatives set up by the UK equestrian community, a group called We Support Australia Charity Auction, had some 4,000 members. Lots offered included semen from top stallions and equestrian items and crafts.Bidding was to close on 11 January and the money raised was to go to various Australian charities.

    But, a spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police told H&H today (13 February): “On Saturday, 1 February we were contacted with reports of fraud in Peterborough. It has been alleged that a woman set up a charity via an auction site and kept donations for her own personal use.

    “No arrests have been made at this stage and an investigation is ongoing.”

    Kerry Louise Palin, who had been posting in the auction group as an organiser, released a statement on 8 February saying she wanted to address “rumours and nasty malicious posts”.

    “I can confirm I reported an incident on Sunday, 2 February after hearing rumours money wasn’t received by a charity from the auction page,” she said, adding that police have full access to her accounts, emails and documents while they investigate.

    “I have nothing to hide but I have followed police advice and haven’t addressed the matter, however, this incident has had such a profound effect on my wellbeing I feel I have had to address this.

    “The police have just been to my house to give me an update, which isn’t much. The officer in charge hasn’t been working office hours and is a response officer so he is doing what he can. He has said my next update will be next Thursday [and] they will then contact Action Fraud to find out how their investigation is going and work together.

    “Please stop the online abuse and rumours. These are incredibly damaging both mentally and physically.

    “If you have your own concerns I advise you call 101 or Action Fraud. Facebook is not the place to do your own investigation; this is why we have trained professionals.

    “I am as keen as you all are to sort this matter.”

    Action Fraud confirmed to H&H that it had received the case in January 2020 and that it was being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

    You may also be interested in…