A former senior Liberal Democrat councillor in Sutton, who is to appear in Croydon Crown Court this week for sentencing on theft and fraud charges, does not appear to expect to get off with a non-custodial sentence: Alan Salter has put his Wallington flat up for sale.
Salter, 67, a semi-retired accountant, was the LibDem councillor for Carshalton Central and had been appointed by Sutton Council leader Ruth Dombey to chair the borough’s important scrutiny committee, tasked with the job of ensuring all the council’s dealings were proper and above board.
Salter held this key position of trust at around the same time that he was caught stealing from clients and shovelling funds for a local charity into his own bank account.
Over the course of a protracted legal case, Salter has been found guilty of two counts of theft and one of fraud.
Last August, Salter appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to abusing his position to commit fraud.
Salter had been treasurer of the charity, Carshalton Association for the Elderly, where between July 2015 and May 2016 he took £8,225 from the charity’s coffers in cash or by signing 26 cheques to himself.
Salter only stood down as a LibDem councillor just before his arrest last year.
He has also been found guilty on two counts of theft from an accountancy client, for amounts of £1,287.06 and £332.30.
The fraud offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Salter’s two-bedroom flat has recently appeared on an online property website, placed on the market for sale at £275,000, or “offers in the region of”.
If it achieves that price, Salter might need to consider refunding the cash which he siphoned off from the charity and his client.
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When Local Government Councillors, particularly finance professionals, commit fraud, they deserve the consequences, and our disdain and anger, for dragging down standards in public life.