UPDATED: J.K. Rowling Releases Statement As Fraud Trial Comes to an End

J.K. Rowling has released a statement regarding the outcome of a fraud trial against her former personal assistant, which came to a close today.

Rowling’s former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, has been ordered to repay close to £19,000 as a result of a civil case that claimed fraudulent use of a business credit card.

Rowling brought the claims against Donaldson in November 2018 under her married name, Joanne Murray. According to the BBC, the claims covered around £24,000 of personal purchases and Harry Potter merchandise, over which Donaldson was dismissed from her position in 2017.

On April 4, 2019, Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found that a number of purchases and cash withdrawals, which were claimed to have been made for the author, were in fact made for Donaldson’s personal use.

In a statement issued on behalf of Rowling, the author stated that she was pleased with the outcome of the case and stressed that money was not her main motivation:

From the outset Ms Rowling made it clear that the decision to take this matter to court was a last resort and not for her personal benefit, but rather to protect the reputation of her existing staff, and to make sure Ms Donaldson is not in a position to breach the trust of another employer.

Terms of the recovery will be decided in due course, and the money owed will be donated to JK Rowling’s charity Lumos.

In reference to the apparent £3,200 of missing Harry Potter merchandise, the sheriff ruled that there was “insufficient evidence” to support the claim that Donaldson was responsible.

UPDATE (August 20):

The Scottish Sun reports that Amanda Donaldson has had to declare bankruptcy, claiming that she has no assets and £61,316 in debt. She has not repaid Rowling the £18,734, according to the news outlet, which also provided a statement issued on Rowling’s behalf.

Following the conclusion of the court case, a decree was served on Amanda Donaldson for the recovery of £18,734 she fraudulently misappropriated from JK Rowling.

This money, once recovered, was intended to be donated to Ms Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos.

Ms Rowling has not, thus far, received any of the monies due.

She hopes that in taking action against Ms Donaldson and highlighting her fraudulent behaviour, she has stopped her defrauding or breaching the trust of anyone else.

Lucy O'Shea

I was given a copy of Philosopher's Stone in 2001, and instantly, I was hooked. Since then, my passion for Potter has been equaled only by my passion for fair access to education (and watching motorsport). A spell I wish could exist in the Muggle world is the summoning charm because this Hufflepuff is not a "particularly good finder"!