A fundraiser who admitted stealing £300,000 of donations made to the Help For Heroes charity has been told to expect a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced on September 15th.
Christopher Copeland, 51, sent teams of volunteers out to supermarkets around Devon in Help For Heroes ex-military vehicles to collect money for the charity, money that he then paid into his own bank accounts. He started the scam in February 2010 and it finished in September 2011 after one of his volunteers became suspicious and called the police. Officials at the charity said they were appalled at Copeland’s calculated and devious dishonesty.
Outside court a tearful Copeland told reporters that he had “tried to do something good and messed up” and added: “I am very sorry. I would really, really like to make amends. I am really sorry and will do anything I can”.
His legal representative told the court that he and his family had received “serious threats” since his arrest, and that the police had needed to fit an alarm at his house.
The case follows that of a husband and wife team of trustees of Afghan Poverty Relief who stole £350,000 from their charity.
Syed Hajnajafi, 50, was jailed for five years and his wife Akila Hassam, 46, for three. The couple, from Nunhead, south-west London now face a court hearing to determine how much they will have to pay back.