Nicholas McKee, a former employee at Racing Welfare has been jailed for three years after stealing over £22,500 from the charity.
The 37-year-old - who worked as an accounts assistant in the finance department, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday, after pleading guilty to theft of the five-figure sum between March 2016 and December 2017, which he stated was to mitigate his own financial difficulties.
Registered in 2000, Racing Welfare supports the workforce of British horseracing, offering professional guidance and practical help to the stud, stable and support staff whose dedication is vital for the well-being of racing.
They aim to 'assist people from recruitment to retirement, to thrive in a day-to-day life and through a range of challenges specific to a career in racing.'
Disgraced at the news, Racing Welfare released a statement on Friday that reads: “We are greatly disappointed and shocked that someone who was employed within our organisation would abuse their position of trust in this way.
"It is deeply distressing that the money embezzled by Mr McKee was given by our supporters in good faith, and find it inconceivable that such a calculated individual managed to hide himself in our charity."
The court heard that Mr McKee had a previous conviction of theft, having stole £40 from a coffee shop, however the charge did not appear when Racing Welfare carried out employment checks.
The statement continued: "Within the prosecution process it emerged that Mr McKee had a spent conviction for theft.
"Mr McKee’s employment by Racing Welfare was subject to a Basic Disclosure DBS check, as is standard practice, and no unspent convictions were reported during this check.
"Standard and Enhanced Disclosure checks would have revealed a spent conviction, however Mr McKee was ineligible for either of these due to the fact he was not in a position whereby he would be in direct, unsupervised contact with young people and vulnerable adults."
The court also heard McKee made a payment of £130 through the company's PayPal account to himself, even after being challenged by the charity.
"Following discovery of Mr McKee’s actions, we instigated a full external audit of our financial processes and have implemented all the recommendations from this.
"In addition, the matter was immediately reported to the Charity Commission and having reviewed all of the steps we have taken, they are as satisfied as they can be that these additional measures mitigate the risk of such a crime happening again.
"The commission confirmed that, in their view, we have done everything conceivable to prevent a repeat of this situation in the future," it finishes.