Adrianne Peltz admits to defrauding Dogs Trust of over £5k
A high-profile Co Down campaigner has admitted defrauding a dog welfare charity of more than £5,000.
Adrianne Peltz (34), of Beatrice Road, Bangor, has admitted using a Dogs Trust credit card for personal expenditure.
Peltz appeared yesterday at Ballymena Magistrates Court where defence barrister Stephen Law said she was pleading guilty.
The defendant did not speak and stood near the public gallery during the short hearing.
Peltz was the regional co-ordinator of Politics Plus, which provides support to MLAs and parties at Stormont.
The BBC reported last night that it understands she has now resigned from that position, although she was still pictured on its website last night on the ‘Meet the Team’ page.
In July, Peltz was pictured at Stormont with Boris Johnson during his Conservative leadership campaign and DUP leader Arlene Foster.
A DUP source said that Mrs Foster has never met Peltz, never spoken with her and was not aware she was pictured with her during the visit from Boris Johnson. The source added that Peltz had "photobombed" Mrs Foster during the visit.
Peltz's lawyer said discussions had been ongoing over the exact amount of money involved in the fraud.
The charge of fraud by abuse of position relates to dates between April 10 and October 12 in 2017.
The full details of the case have yet to be outlined to the court.
The matter was adjourned until next month for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Previous Press statements from the Dogs Trust have described Peltz as the charity’s campaigns manager for Northern Ireland relating to a company credit card.
The charity has said that Peltz left their employment by the time they discovered the financial discrepancies.
Peltz has a high media profile in Northern Ireland.
She has been a spokeswoman for Amnesty International and was named on the Victim Support NI website as being on its board of trustees.
The page appeared to have been removed yesterday.
Victim Support NI is an independent charity supporting people affected by crime.
Following yesterday’s hearing, Victim Support NI said: “Victim Support NI is aware of legal proceedings involving Adrianne Peltz, which occurred prior to her voluntary role with Victim Support NI.
“The board of Victim Support NI are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate steps in line with our code of conduct. We have no further comment to make at this time.”
Peltz is originally from South Africa but has lived in Northern Ireland for a number of years and her other leading roles have included president of the student union NUS-USI.
She has also frequently been a media commentator and managed strategic political campaigns with the Labour Party and Britain Stronger in Europe.
The Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK, including one in Ballymena.
Following yesterday’s court proceedings, the Dogs Trust said: “Dogs Trust relies on the enormous generosity of the public to continue caring for over 15,000 dogs every year.
“It is of paramount importance to us that we use our funds in the best way possible, so that the public has confidence that their donations are being spent wisely.
“Events such as this are rare for us and we take them very seriously.
“We have taken appropriate steps to recover the funds where possible, so that we can put them back into the vital work that we do.
“We would like to thank the police for their prompt assistance in this matter.”