The former director of Cardigan Castle has been sentenced to 21 months in prison suspended for two years, after stealing and defrauding the restoration project out of more than £40,000.
Jac Owen Davies, of Dol Dintir in Cardigan, admitted two counts of fraud and two counts of theft from The Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust over two years.
The 34-year-old gained £40,624.02 from the castle between December 2017 and August 2019.
Suspicions were raised by the trust in the summer of 2019, when contact was made with Dyfed-Powys Police to report that £6,024.79 had been stolen from the safe.
Inspector Owen Williams said: “We were told that the money should have been banked in three separate amounts, and should have been banked at the time, but it is believed it was put in the safe.
“The director of the castle, Jac Davies was responsible for the banking of this cash, but did not bring the missing money to the trustees’ attention.
“This report sparked an in depth fraud investigation which spanned 12 months and resulted in the discovery that far more money had gone missing from the trust’s accounts.”
In August 2019 Davies was voluntary interviewed at Cardigan Police Station, during which he denied taking the money. He offered several possible scenarios which could have led to the funds going missing, including an envelope being taken out with the rubbish, or an “opportunist” thief gaining access to his office.
The force’s Economic Crime Team was tasked with investigating accounts linked to the castle – and to look into claims that the suspect had merged the trust’s credit card with his own account.
Officers also searched Davies’s home prior to a second interview, uncovering cheques made out to the castle.
Insp Williams said: “This time, following three months of enquiries, Davies admitted fraudulently gaining funds from the trust.
“He claimed he had ‘fallen on hard times’ and used the trust’s credit card for personal use, making withdrawals and transactions totalling over £28,000 and altering paperwork to cover up his actions.
“However, due to further allegations being made by the trust, officers continued with their investigations to ensure all potential offences had been looked into before any charges were brought.”
Based on evidence acquired by the team, the CPS authorised two charges of fraud and two of theft against Davies in March 2021, which he admitted at court.
He was sentenced to 21 months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation course, at Swansea Crown Court on June 3.
Insp Williams said: “This was a very complex enquiry which saw officers from a number of teams working over the course of a year to bring Jac Davies to justice.
“Offences such as these can often be seen as a victimless crimes, however it is recognised that they cause emotional as well as financial harm to those involved. I can reassure the public that we will take the necessary action to bring offenders to justice.”
The Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust has thanked Dyfed-Powys Police for undertaking a thorough investigation, and looks forward to moving on.