A FORMER Shire of York councillor is now facing two charges relating to an investigation into the misappropriation of funds from a community centre.
Former councillor Ashley Garratt and his partner Robyn Garratt appeared in Northam Magistrates Court on Monday, October 30 charged with defrauding the York Community Resource Centre (YCRC).
As reported by the ABC on the same day, former YCRC employee, Ms Garratt had additional six charges added to her original five counts of fraud by forgery and two counts of stealing as a servant.
Mr Garratt is now facing one count of benefiting from fraud and one count of property laundering.
Initially, only Mr Garratt’s partner was charged after the police executed a search warrant at a Malebelling home on Thursday, October 12.
The new charges come after police conducted a follow-up search of their home last week.
Ms Garratt was charged after five months of investigation by Northam detectives into allegations of misappropriation of funds at the community centre.
The new charges the 41-year-old is facing are one count of property laundering, one count of stealing as a servant, two counts of forging records, and two counts of benefiting from fraud. The couple are due back in court on January 8.
The York Community Resource Centre, a vital service provider to residents in the area, went into involuntary administration in July after experiencing financial problems.
“The Shire of York is in the process of taking over delivery of services from the CRC and re-opening the facility, and understands that the closure of the centre has impacted a wide range of York’s population,” Shire chief executive officer Chris Linnell said.
The Lumen Wheatbelt Regional University Centre services, run from the centre, are now available by appointment. Further services are expected to become available in November, subject to staff recruitment and IT provisions, but no date is set for the centre’s reopening.
The shire will also take on the centre’s debt and has allocated up to $200,000 in the 2023-2024 budget – the shire expects the final figure may be more.