Irish businessman Peter Conlon has been jailed for embezzling over 3.4 million GBP in donations to his company which were supposed to be passed on to charities.
Conlon was found guilty in a court in the Swiss city of Zurich as his company Ammado AG was based in Zug in the central Swiss canton of the same name.
According to local media, the donation platform founded ten years ago was successful at first and donors could search projects from all over the world and choose which ones they could financially support by donating via credit card.
Dozens of millions of Euros reportedly found their way to reputable aid organisations via Ammado who took a five-percent commission for mediation as well as a 2.5 percent as fee.
But Ammado’s costs rose higher than their income and Conlon, 64, who reportedly studied at Stanford University in the United States, began diverting several million in donations.
According to the indictment, this created a snowballing cycle and customers began suspecting something was amiss at the beginning of 2015 as payments would firstly arrive late and then not arrive at all.
Shortly before Christmas in 2017, Conlon was arrested at the Zurich Airport and Ammado declared bankruptcy in February 2018.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) confirmed in February 2018 in a press release that they were “one of a number of non-profit organisations owed money by the online donation provider, Ammado AG”.
According to the press release, “Ammado AG has failed to pay approximately 1.8 million CHF (1.4 million GBP) donated via its platform to IFRC and to a number of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world.”
IFRC stopped using Ammado and advised its members National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to do the same.
The court in Zurich found Conlon guilty of embezzling 4.39 million CHF (3.4 million GBP) but found he did not have personal enrichment from his crimes and gave him a two-year prison sentence suspended to one year as well as a five-year banishment from Switzerland.
Reports suggest the Irish national will be released on 22nd December 2018 as he has already spent 334 days in custody.