WA charity CEO stole thousands from burns victims
Former charity CEO steals thousands of dollars worth of donations meant for burn victims
The former chief executive of a charity established by a Bali bombing survivor to help burns victims has spent her first night in jail after stealing $57,200 from the organisation.
Samantha Chelsea McClymans, 42, was jailed for two years on Tuesday after pleading guilty in the District Court of Western Australia to two counts of stealing as a servant.
Her role at the Peter Hughes Burns Foundation meant she had sole access to its accounts, which she plundered on several occasions, spending the cash on things such as hairdos, washing her dog and buying expensive cosmetic cream for her niece.
Some of the money had been held in trust for Dana Vulin, who nearly died in 2012 when Natalie Dimitrovska doused her with methylated spirits and set her on fire during a jealous rage.
The court heard Ms Vulin contacted McClymans several times about ongoing delays getting access to her money, and received about one-third of what she was entitled to in between being lied to, fobbed off and ultimately ignored.
“She is still in absolute disbelief that you could take advantage of her and all of the people who donated to her cause by using that money that was supposed to be paying for her recovery to spend on your own day-to-day living expenses,” Judge Troy Sweeney said.
“She really can’t believe it and it’s left her feeling both betrayed and heartbroken.”
McClymans attempted to justify the spending as being job related, and petrol could have been used for some business, but other claims were “obvious fiction”, Judge Sweeney said.
The judge also labelled McClymans’ claim that two detectives approached her in a cafe saying Ms Vulin was under investigation and should not be paid her money “bizarre”.
“You create smokescreens in an attempt to divert people from the truth,” Judge Sweeney said.
“Everybody you know thinks so highly of you and thinks of you as such a helpful and honest person that you actually now find it impossible to openly admit that during this period of time in your life you were not an honest person.
“Admitting that will shatter their image of you and your own image of yourself.”
She said it was “just extraordinary” McClymans felt she could dip into money that should have been used to help burns victims, including modifying the bathrooms of those who found it difficult to use their hands to turn on taps.
McClymans will be eligible for parole after she has served one year behind bars and must compensate Ms Vulin and United Way, which she also ripped off.