Five Jailed Over Charity Collection Scam

Two men and three women have been sentenced at Southampton Crown Court for having conspired to defraud and conceal financial transactions.

Gordon Coe, 65, from Southampton was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The other defendants in this case were Pauline Hunt sentenced to 12 months, Susan Christians sentenced to 18 months, and Ben Chapman sentenced to 15 months with his wife Kim sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment.

Sarah Dineley, District Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex said:

“For three years Gordon Coe, 65 and his four other accomplices all from Southampton thought they had masterminded the perfect scam, going through Southampton pubs and collect money on behalf of the well respected end of life charity, Marie Curie Cancer Care.

“Greediness and the appeal to make easy money pushed Coe, the ringleader to apply in 2008 to the charity as volunteer fundraiser.. After being vetted, a representative of the charity visited the ring leader at his home address and gave him collections tins, a paying-in book, t-shirts, an ID badge and a receipt book on the understanding he would collect in the Southampton area.

"He was given strict instructions on how and where he should collect the funds.

“However, our evidence showed that Coe did not respect this agreement right from the beginning and over those three years, he enrolled five others into his scam.

"The two men and three women whose ages ranked from mid-forties to mid-sixties at not moment expressed any remorse about taking pub goers’ money donated in the aim it would go to the respectable charity.

“Over the years, the conducts of the defendants raised suspicions within the charity and members of the public from who donations were taken. Thanks to Hampshire Police investigation the defendants were brought before the courts and were sentenced today.

“This case sends a strong message to whoever plot is plotting a scam and think they will never be caught.

"We would like to thank all the witnesses in the case and would like to emphasize that the great work of Marie Curie Cancer Care charity should not be tarnished by the criminal acts of the defendants in this case.”