A MAN accused of falsely collecting cash for a sick children’s charity across the south-west is fighting the charges.
Thomas Vandermey, 52, of Ardonachie Street, Macarthur, collected $335 on behalf of the Make A Wish Foundation but the Portland Magistrates Court was told yesterday he was not authorised to do so.
Vandermey yesterday pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of obtaining property by deception.
During the hearing, he pleaded guilty to nine charges of theft after he stole wool bales from his former employer.
Police allege Vandermey went to businesses in Condah, Port Fairy and Warrnambool asking for donations for the One Big Red Money Walk 4 Wishes.
It is alleged between June and July 2011 Vandermey went to the Condah Greenhills Hotel with a clipboard and claimed to represent the Make a Wish Foundation, for which he was collecting. A patron and the licensee both donated $50.
Between June and July 2012 Vandermey returned to the hotel with a clipboard, a fabricated Make A Wish letterhead and a picture of an ill child. A patron donated $100 and the licensee $50.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Harris said on July 26, 2012, Vandermey approached businesses in Port Fairy.
He went to McLean’s Pharmacy and said he personally knew the organiser of the One Big Red Money Walk 4 Wishes and her husband.
Two staff members donated money and Vandermey was captured on CCTV.
On July 27, 2012, Vandermey allegedly approached five businesses in Warrnambool purporting to represent the Make A Wish Foundation.
On November 15, 2012, Vandermey went to the Cancer Council Victoria offices in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, and presented a $1000 cheque for money collected for Relay for Life but did not hand over any cash.
He was interviewed by police at Branxholme and confirmed it was him in the footage but denied all allegations.
During the interview he confirmed he was not registered to collect donations on behalf of the Make A Wish Foundation.
Vandermey represented himself in court and said he had a letter proving he was registered with the charity to collect money.
He told magistrate Ann McGarvie he took the donations to the Cancer Council and didn’t have time to get a receipt. He said the reason he stole from his employer was to get back at them and he gave the money to people in the street who looked destitute.
Ms McGarvie gave a sentence indication on the basis that if Vandermey pleaded guilty to the theft and deception charges he would be looking at a three-month jail sentence, wholly suspended for 12 months.
Vandermey said he would contest the deception charges and appear for a two-day contest hearing on January 29 and 30 next year.
On the theft charges he was convicted and sentenced to two months’ jail, wholly suspended for 12 months.
He was ordered to pay $1248 in compensation.