EIGHT people, including its then-boss, have been accused of cheating a charity and two other firms out of money as part of a four-year long financial plot.

Feeraz Begum, the co-ordinator of Brierfield-based Caring Today, has appeared in court accused of defrauding the charity between January 2009 and January 2013.

Begum, 44, of Reedley Road, Brierfield, has been named in a conspiracy alongside Mohammed Fayyaz, Mohammed Nawaz and Mohammed Sarfraz.

She faces three charges, the first alleging she acted against the financial interests of Caring Today, while employed as a manager, to make a financial gain for herself and three other men.

The second allegation is that she defrauded Face 2 Face Associates UK Ltd, the company listed to her home address, over the same timeframe.

And the third charge is similar but involves Homecare & Domiciliary Network (Lancashire) Ltd, from July 2010 to January 2013.

Mohammed Sarfraz, 51, of Hartley Street, Nelson, Mohammed Nawaz, 42, of Vernon Street, Nelson, and Mohammed Fayyaz, 49, also of Reedley Road, Brierfield, are each charged with the same three fraud conspiracy offences.

Four others from the Pendle area have been charged by detectives with playing supporting roles in the alleged scam.

Farhat Afsar, 40, of Kelswick Drive, Nelson, is accused of a money-laundering offence, totalling £5,000, said to involve Begum in March 2011.

Anam Iqbal, 24, of York Street, Nelson, is charged with a similar money-laundering allegation, involving £3,400, in November 2010.

Sarah Irshad, formerly of Nelson but now of Cambridge Crescent, High Wycombe is accused of money laundering, also involving Begum, for £5,200 between March and May 2010.

And Asima Parveen, 29, of Camden Street, Nelson, is accused of falsifying a local authority record, between January 2010 and January 2013. All eight have been sent for crown court trial on bail and will appear at Burnley Crown Court on June 9. Not guilty pleas have been indicated by all eight defendants.

Caring Today provides respite facilities for children and young people with learning difficulties alongside an after-school club, youth club and carers group.