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WATCH: Ex-JSPCA CEO pleads guilty to taking £300k from charity

WATCH: Ex-JSPCA CEO pleads guilty to taking £300k from charity

Friday 29 November 2019

WATCH: Ex-JSPCA CEO pleads guilty to taking £300k from charity


The former CEO of the JSPCA has pleaded guilty to taking £300,000 of the animal charity's income for his own benefit.

Major Stephen Coleman appeared in the Royal Court today and entered pleas to 19 charges.

Represented by Advocate Michael Haines, he admitted a total of 15 counts of fraud, two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering a forged document.

Lieutenant Bailiff Anthony Olsen, presiding, told Coleman that he would be sentenced by the Superior Number - a panel of jurats, which only assembles for the most serious cases - on 6 February 2020 at 14:30.

Video: Detective Inspector Lawrence Courtness reads a statement following Coleman's guilty pleas.

Coleman, who was wearing a black pinstripe suit, did not visibly react as he was subsequently taken into custody.

Following the Royal Court hearing, Detective Inspector Lawrence Courtness read the following statement on behalf of the States of Jersey Police:

"Stephen John Coleman has today pleaded guilty to all 19 charges levelled against him in relation to fraudulent receipt of money from the JSPCA.

"Throughout the 10-year period he was Chief Officer of the JSPCA, he took £300,000 of the charity’s income for his own benefit.

"The guilty pleas entered today follow a complex 18-month investigation by Jersey’s Joint Financial Crime Unit. Faced with the evidence we had painstakingly secured, it is clear that he felt no option but to admit to his crimes in full."

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Pictured: Some of the charges Coleman admitted related to false bonus claims for himself and other staff.

He continued: "The crimes he committed had a devastating impact on the charity he claimed to serve. He abused a position of significant trust and endangered the vital relationship between the JSPCA and the public.

"Throughout the investigation, the JSPCA has assisted the JFCU in understanding Coleman’s activities, allowing the team to construct the compelling case which has led to today’s result."

Coleman, who was also in the British Army, served as the head of the animal welfare charity between April 2006 and October 2017.

However, he departed the organisation suddenly in summer 2017.

A Police investigation into alleged fraud at the Animals' Shelter was subsequently opened in November of that year

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Pictured: Coleman has been remanded in custody until his sentencing in February 2020.

Following what they described as a "lengthy and complex investigation", Police finally charged Coleman in August 2019.

The offending he has now admitted spans over a decade between 2007 and 2017, and includes falsely stating on several occasions that he and other employees were entitled to pay rises of between 5% and 17%, which had not been approved by the charity. 

The Gloucestershire native also fraudulently obtained Christmas bonuses for himself and other staff in excess of what the charity had agreed. In 2014, he claimed £17,841.60, when only a bonus equivalent to one week’s pay was due.

In total, Coleman took around £300,000 of the charity’s income for his own benefit. However, the overall total of the fraud was in the region of £400,000.

READ: The full list of offences admitted by Coleman...

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