Former animal charity chief jailed for £400,000 fraud

The former chief executive of the Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been jailed for seven years after defrauding the charity of about £400,000.

Stephen Coleman, 61, was sentenced at the Royal Court in Jersey yesterday after pleading guilty in November to 15 counts of fraud, two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering forged documents.

Coleman was found to have taken approximately £400,000 – £300,000 of which was kept for himself – more than a decade from 2006 as chief executive of the JSPCA.

The court made a confiscation order against Coleman to the value of £228,000 in order to compensate the charity. 

The charity said in a statement that the frauds had had a big impact on the charity’s financial position and had required “challenging financial decisions” to be made to remedy the issues caused.

“Coleman’s fraud left the society in a dire financial position, burdened with debt and high interest payments,” the statement said.

“We never imagined that we would ever see the money that Stephen had misappropriated again. We are truly grateful to the court for confiscating his assets in order to compensate the society.

“He stole from the generous animal lovers of Jersey, many of whom give donations they can barely afford, in order to finance his extravagant lifestyle, and his actions have severely damaged the public’s trust in the charity.”

A statement from the States of Jersey Police said the force was confident that Coleman acted alone.

“Throughout the investigation, his arrogance and lack of empathy have been remarkable,” the police statement said.

“The widely reported impact upon the charity, and its treasured status with islanders, appears to have been of little consequence to him. He has only ever thought of himself.”

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