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Cars, guns and jewellery seized from ex-JSPCA CEO

Cars, guns and jewellery seized from ex-JSPCA CEO

Wednesday 04 December 2019

Cars, guns and jewellery seized from ex-JSPCA CEO


Over 30 firearms, two Rolls Royces and a £15,000 diamond ring were among the assets seized from the ex-CEO of the JSPCA during the investigation into his £400,000 charity fraud, it has emerged.

Stephen John Coleman admitted 19 fraud-related charges in the Royal Court last week, including forging signatures and obtaining false bonuses for himself and colleagues.

In total, the former army serviceman took around £300,000 for his own personal gain during his time at the helm of the charity. 

His guilty pleas followed a complex 18-month probe into the charity’s finances, launched in November 2017. 

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Pictured: Coleman's guilty pleas follow a complex investigation into the charity's finances.

According to documents obtained by Express, it can now be revealed that, one year into the investigation, Coleman was subject to a wide-ranging seizure order under the Proceeds of Crime Law relating to assets totalling hundreds of thousands. 

Granted by the then-Deputy Bailiff on 19 November, the ‘saisie judiciaire’ saw the Viscount take control of two bank accounts in Coleman’s name and his joint interest in a St. Lawrence property. 

Four vehicles were also seized: a blue Rolls Royce Shadow, a red Rolls Royce Silver Wraith, a red Range Rover and a black Honda S2000. 

Coleman – referred to in the papers as “the suspect” – was also stripped of two items of jewellery with a collective value of nearly £20,000.

Both were 18 carat yellow and white gold three-stone diamond rings, claimed to be worth £4,850 and £14,800.

The last part of the three-page court decision called for the seizure of 33 firearms held under a certificate issued in 2015. 

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Pictured: Assets totalling hundreds of thousands have been seized from Coleman.

Such orders are generally made to stop those suspected of financial crimes from disposing of their assets in advance of a conviction, allowing them to later be liquidated and added to the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund – a money pot used to prevent crime or deal with its consequences – or sold off to compensate victims.

Not all of the assets seized during the process of an investigation will necessarily be used for compensation, however.

Firstly, the true ownership of all assets seized during an investigation must be verified. 

The Viscount’s Department must also check the quality of each of the assets in advance of their sale.

Cars, for example, must have their roadworthiness assessed. If they are in an unusable state, the Viscount must make a decision as to whether it would be financially prudent to restore them for sale. 

By the time of a confiscation hearing following conviction, it may be the case that a ‘saisie’ is cast even wider if further significant assets are discovered.

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Pictured: The charges relate to Coleman's misconduct whilst at the helm of the animal charity.

The November 2018 court order also stipulated that Coleman must disclose details of:

  • his full salary and income;
  • properties that he owns or has an interest in;
  • any other motor vehicles he owns;
  • all National Savings Certificates and shares in any companies;
  • trusts of which he is a beneficiary and their respective trustees;
  • those to whom he owes money;
  • and all assets over £500 transferred to anyone on his behalf since January 2006.

Coleman will be sentenced for his crimes against the 150-year-old animal charity on 6 February next year, and has been remanded in custody in the meantime. 

Following his hearing on Friday, his successor, Debra D’Orleans, told Express she hoped the JSPCA could “put this chapter behind us and… concentrate on looking after the animals in our care”.

“We have had tremendous help from our supporters, sponsors and fundraisers and I would like to say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who stuck by us in all this and helped us get back on our feet,” she said.

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