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  1. ITV Report

JSPCA: Charity responds to Stephen Coleman sentencing

The charity says Coleman's actions left it in a 'dire financial position' as it contended with debts and high interest payments. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The JSPCA says the fraud of its disgraced former chief Stephen Coleman left it in a 'dire financial position', as he begins a jail sentence for fraud.

Stephen Coleman was sentenced to seven years in prisonfor defrauding the animal welfare charity out of £400,000.

He did this by misleading the pay clerk into awarding inflated amounts and doctoring committee minutes to suit him

Stephen Coleman was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding the animal welfare charity out of £400,000. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Police described his 'arrogance and lack of empathy' during the investigation as 'remarkable', saying he showed no remorse for the crimes.

The charity says Coleman's actions left it in a 'dire financial position' as it contended with debts and high interest payments.

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.

The Society, which is registered and fully compliant with the Jersey Charity Commissioner, owes its survival to the people of Jersey who have continued, and indeed increased, their support over this very difficult time. Coleman’s betrayal of Islanders is made worse by the fact that whilst defrauding the JSPCA he was not only a retired Major but also a serving Centenier purporting to command trust and respect.

– JSPCA Statement

The Charity said it had been forced to make 'challenging financial decisions' over the past few years, but had always maintained its objective of caring for animals on the island.

The Court ruled that it would confiscate Coleman's assets to compensate the JSPCA for its losses.

Jersey's Charity Commissioner John Mills CBE says that governors of local charities should take the opportunity to make sure they cannot fall victim to fraud in the future.

Charities exist to do good. Governors of registered charities have a duty to ensure that their resources are used for providing public benefit. This case offers an opportunity for all of them to reflect upon, and review where necessary, their financial controls, procedures and practices.

Having weak internal financial controls and procedures can make charities susceptible to insider fraud. By strengthening these procedures and processes, governors can reduce the risk of this happening.

– John Mills CBE, Jersey Charity Commission