Former Chief Executive of Animal Welfare Charity Charged with Fraud, Forgery and Forged Documents

Former chief executive officer of animal welfare charity, the Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Stephen John Coleman was found guilty of fraud in 2019. Following an investigation by Jersey’s Joint Financial Crime Unit, it was found that the perpetrator committed a long-standing fraud during his tenue at the animal welfare charity. Over the course of ten years’ employment, 61-year-old Coleman stole £300,000 from the JSPCA. While £300,000 were stolen by the fraudster for his own benefit, the animal welfare charity incurred losses of a further £100,000 as a result of his financial crimes. Jersey Police noted that his crimes had a devastating impact on the charity.

After an elaborate 18-month operation, Jersey Police and Jersey’s Joint Financial Crime Unit swooped on the animal welfare charity fraudster. As a result of the evidence amassed against him, Coleman was forced to admit all nineteen charges levelled against him. These included 15 counts of fraud, two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering forged documents. During his ten-year tenure at the JSPCA, Coleman helped himself to unauthorised pay rises and bonuses, while also stealing from the charity’s income. Following the trial, new chief executive of the JSPCA Debra D’Orleans spoke of the impact of the fraud on the animal welfare charity. “His actions had a devastating impact on the Animals Shelter, and now we’re hoping to put all this behind us and carry on our work for the animals of Jersey.”

In a statement, Jersey Police reiterated the importance of the investigation to securing guilty pleas from the fraudster. “Faced with the evidence we had painstakingly secured, it is clear that he felt no option but to admit to his crimes in full. The crimes he committed had a devastating impact on the charity he claimed to serve. He abused a position of significant trust,” the statement read. Stephen John Coleman remains in custody as he awaits being sentenced in February 2020.