Society might sue over theft

Colleen Grundlingh
Picture: Supplied

Ex-volunteer found guilty of stealing raffle ticket money but Animal Welfare wants to recover funds

The Animal Welfare Society (AWS) in Port Elizabeth is considering civil action against a former volunteer who raised and stole more than R18 000 from the organisation.

Colleen Grundlingh was found guilty of the theft of R18 400 in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court last month.

This resulted from her selling raffle tickets for AWS after an agreement was terminated.

AWS volunteer and former executive committee member Erica Ferrey said the organisation was considering civil action to recover the funds, as only R1 500 had been repaid so far.

“She has never contacted us to make arrangements [to pay]. We received two deposits – one of R500 and one of R1 000 – from a C Grundlingh on the day before the court case, but she has not been in contact with us, so we are not sure if it’s from her.”

Ferrey said Grundlingh had approached the organisation in November 2016, offering to raise funds through a raffle.

“In December, we sent a permission letter for her to sell raffle tickets on behalf of AWS,” Ferrey said.

“All proceeds were to be deposited directly into the account of AWS and two prizes would be offered in the form of weekend getaways.”

Later that month, the AWS terminated this agreement, after seeing a complaint about Grundlingh on the SPCA Uitenhage’s Facebook page.

“The AWS chairman [at the time] Matthew Ferrey decided that it was in the best interest of the society to suspend any further sale of tickets by Grundlingh.”

At this point, Ferrey said the organisation advised Grundlingh about the termination and passed along their banking details for her to deposit the proceeds she had raised.

A month later, the AWS received a call from a member of the public, asking if the ticket they had bought from Grundlingh was legitimate.

After this, the AWS e-mailed Grundlingh with further instructions to cease sales, and the organisation posted on Facebook to warn people against buying the tickets.

At the end of February last year, Grundlingh signed a document at AWS, committing to pay back the R18 400 she had raised.

The AWS opened a criminal case in April last year.

Grundlingh was convicted of theft on February 2 and ordered to pay a fine of R5 000.

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg confirmed that Grundlingh had been found guilty.

She also said a similar case had been opened against Grundlingh earlier this month, but could not give the name of the complainant.

Asked for comment, Grundlingh said she had paid the price for her deeds against AWS.

“The matter is between me and them,” she said. “I know it was wrong, but I am paying the money back [in instalments].”

Grundlingh said she would seek legal advice as she was being harassed by the AWS on social media.

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