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Former Black Isle museum chairman and treasurer who embezzled over £18K from Groam House charity avoids jail sentence

By Ali Morrison

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William Bound (inset) embezzled thousands of pounds from Groam House Museum in Rosemarkie.
William Bound (inset) embezzled thousands of pounds from Groam House Museum in Rosemarkie.

The former chairman and treasurer of a popular small museum has escaped a jail sentence but ordered to repay £2000 of almost £19,000 he admitted embezzling from the charity over three years.

Instead, 75-year-old William Bound was instructed to carry out 180 hours of unpaid community work and remain under social work supervision for a year by Sheriff Sara Matheson.

Inverness Sheriff Court had been told that Bound faked invoices to conceal his dishonesty and banked the money in several accounts he had.

Sentence had previously been deferred for a background report. The court had been told that the Covid outbreak and extensive defence enquries had largely resulted in the four year delay in taking the case to court.

Bound, of Ballyskelly House, Poyntzfield, Dingwall was originally charged with embezzling £56,363.50 from Groam House Museum between November, 2013 and October, 2016.

But he ultimately pleaded guilty to £18,922.50.

Fiscal depute Susan Love said that the museum is a charity and opened its Rosemarkie premises in 1990 to display important Celtic and Pictish art.

Ms Love said it housed the George Bain collection which is regarded of national importance.

She added: "The museum has a turnover of around £35,000 a year but relied on government and outer agency support, as well as fund-raising, public donations and income, up to £100,000.

"Over the years, it has had between three to seven board members, including William Bound between 2011 and 2016. He held the posts of chairman and treasurer." Ms Love went on.

She added that they were all voluntary although expenses would be reimbursed.

"After he moved on, an examination of the accounts revealed financial irregularities. Monies had been paid into his own accounts and he created false invoices for the sums which he considered he was due."

Defence advocate David Nicolson said his client had no previous convictions. "He is ashamed of what has happened and embarrassed by what has happened. As such, he has not left his house. But he accepts responsibility. It has been a major disaster for someone of his standing and stage of life.

"He doesn't keep good health and he explains that he suffered a kind of brain fog which made him make bad decision and be forgetful. He puts this down to his medication."

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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