Former USPCA chief charged with fraud offences

October 17, 2016

The former chief executive of the north’s largest animal welfare charity, the USPCA, has been charged with a series of fraud offences.

Fifty three year-old Stephen Philpott faces two counts of fraud by abuse of position and a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.  The ex-chief executive is also accused of possessing criminal property and concealing criminal property.

Mr Philpott was chief executive of the USPCA until his dismissal in July on grounds of misconduct.

He had been suspended in March following an independent investigation into the management of the charity.

The charity boss had held his role as Chief Executive for more than a decade and was one of the most high-profile charity bosses in Northern Ireland, regularly speaking out in the media about animal cruelty issues.  He presided at the official opening of the USPCA’s state-of-the-art animal hospital in Newry last year, the first hospital of its kind in Ireland.

Mr Philpott was arrested and questioned by detectives from the PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit last month in connection with USPCA reports of “suspected irregularities.”   He was subsequently released on bail.

It is understood a 52-year-old woman arrested along with Philpott in September is to be reported to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). She was also released on bail last month.

Commenting on the charges, a spokeswoman for the USPCA said: “We have been informed that a person has been charged in connection with suspected irregularities in our organisation and we will continue to offer every assistance to the PSNI as their inquiries continue. We thank our members and the public for their continued support at this time.”

Mr Philpott is expected to appear before Newry Magistrates’ Court in Co Down on Wednesday.