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Council worker admits to £62,000 Grenfell Tower fraud

FRAUD: Jenny McDonagh was the manager of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Grenfell fund

A WOMAN has admitted to defrauding the Grenfell Tower victim fund of more than £60,000.

Council worker Jenny McDonagh stole pre-paid credit cards and used them to splurge on luxury overseas holidays, eating out at expensive restaurants and online gambling.

McDonagh, the former manager of the fund at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, was neither a survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire, nor a bereaved family member.

She withdrew £62,000 over a period of 10 months.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to two fraud charges and was released on conditional bail. She will be required to wear an electronic tag.

A Kensington and Chelsea Council spokesperson said: "We take fraud very seriously and we have always taken action to root out Grenfell fraud wherever it takes place.

"Over many months our fraud team has worked with the police to build cases and push for prosecutions against anyone who sought to take advantage of last year's terrible tragedy.

"On this occasion it was one of our own members of staff who managed to defraud the Council by getting past our own systems and processes. This is both shocking and unforgivable.

"We discovered the fraud and took action straight away, including strengthening our internal processes. We apologise to the survivors and families for any distress this may cause."

The council stressed that none of the money McDonagh stole was taken from Grenfell survivors or families and that her actions had not hindered its efforts to ensure they received financial assistance.

McDonagh is one of a number of people who have been charged with fraud in the aftermath of the tower block tragedy. Her sentencing date has not yet been set.

Last week, a 58-year-old man who pretended to be a resident of Grenfell Tower was jailed for six years.

Derrick Peters told authorities that he lost his friend and all his belongings in the fire and ran up a bill of £40,000 while staying in a £192-a-night hotel room.

Peters was arrested earlier this month after he burgled a flat.

It was later revealed that he did not live with a Grenfell resident who died in the blaze as he had claimed.

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