Convicted thief lied to get top church job

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

The former chief executive of the Lincoln Diocese has been given a suspended jail sentence after admitting he lied about his qualifications to obtain his job.

Max Manin, who held the post between 2004 and 2012, claimed on his CV that he was awarded a first class honours degree in English Literature and Fine Art by the University of Sheffield in 1979.

He also falsely claimed that he held a management diploma.

Manin was actually a convicted thief who was jailed at Wood Green Crown Court in 1993 for three charges of theft and three charges of false accounting relating to stealing money from an NHS medical practice where he worked and then attempting to cover up what he had done.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that after coming out of prison Manin reinvented himself. He changed his name and in 1994 enrolled at Sheffield University as a mature student but dropped out towards the end of his third year without taking his final exams.

He later became deputy director of the gay rights group Stonewall and applied for the Lincoln Diocese post when it became vacant in 2004.

Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said Manin would never even have been interviewed for the job if his true qualifications were known. He also did not disclose his prior conviction until after he got the job.

It was only then that Manin asked to see the Bishop of Lincoln Rt Rev John Saxbee and told him about his criminal past.

Mr Dee said: “The bishop discussed that with his two suffragen bishops. It was decided between them in the spirit of Christian forgiveness that the job still be offered to Manin.”

Manin held down his job for eight years before his lack of qualifications came to light after a building project he headed overspent by £300,000.

Manin was suspended and the subsequent inquiry revealed he did not have either the degree or a management diploma that he claimed.

Judge Michael Stokes branded Manin a ‘hypocrite’ for only coming clean about his crimes after he obtained the senior Church of England role.

Passing sentence on Manin at Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Stokes quoted a passage from St Luke.

“He who exalts himself shall be humbled. He who humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Judge Stokes told Manin: “You are now humbled because you have to plead guilty to these charges.

“You have behaved in a thoroughly dishonest way.

“It really is disgraceful behaviour to rely on the Christian charity of the Bishop and reveal your previous convictions when at the same time giving a completely and false impression of your qualifications.”

Alison Summers, defending, said Manin was remorseful and had worked hard while he was in the position.

Bishop Saxbee, who has since retired, said in a court statement: “Had we known it was false that he had this degree he would not even have been interviewed.

“I believe a great breach of trust has been committed irrespective of the fact Manin carried out the role satisfactorily.

“He has betrayed the trust of fellow Christians who appointed him and worked with him as a friend and colleague.”

Manin, 54, of Oakbank Crescent, Perth, Scotland, admitted obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception by falsely representing that he held a degree when applying for the position in April 2004.

He also admitted a charge of fraud after lying about his qualifications claiming to have both a first degree and an MBA in an unsuccessful application for a job with the Bristol-based Penny Brohn Cancer Charity in 2007.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.