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Jail for equine charity cheat who used donations to fund 'lavish lifestyle'

62-year-old used bank account as 'personal piggybank' 

A woman who conned the public into donating money to an equine company she claimed was a charity has been jailed.

Wendy Elizabeth Megson, who has been in custody since her trial, had never registered Manx Equitherapy Limited (MEL) as a charity but sought donations from individuals and companies.

The 62-year-old fraudulently used other charities’ registration numbers to obtain funding and failed to file annual accounts between 2013 and 2019.

She was found guilty after a trial of two charity act offences and two of deception; jurors also convicted her of nine counts of benefit fraud.  

Between 2017 and 2021 Megson was overpaid more than £31,000 in benefits after claiming she couldn’t work; the claim was fraudulent from the outset.

During sentencing at Douglas Courthouse – which Megson refused to attend – the court heard she’d solicited money for MEL including £1,000 from a charitable initiative run by Tesco.

The bank account where donations were held was used as her ‘personal piggy bank’ the prosecutor said to fund a ‘lavish lifestyle’ which included shopping sprees, off-Island trips and hotel stays.

Sentencing Megson as if she was in the courtroom Deemster Graeme Cook was told the hearing marked the 24th in this case.

Describing her actions as ‘planned exploitation of the public’ he sent her to prison for 39 months telling her: “It is time for sentence to be imposed upon you.”

Megson was previously jailed in August last year, for 20 weeks, after being found guilty of animal cruelty offences after a trial which also took place in her absence.

You can find out more HERE.

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