Friday October 31,2014 : DISGRACED FORMER BANKER GAMBLED MILLIONS WITH ONLINE SITES
Carefree attitude did not go down well with the police.
Retired Merrill Lynch banker Patrick Coppeard (49) took advantage of 62 parishioners at his church to con around GBP 5 million from them – funds he mainly spent on internet gambling sites belonging to companies like bet365, Ladbrokes and Coral.
And according to a report in the Daily Mail, he displayed a carefree attitude when questioned by police about the size of his bank balance, responding "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah."
Coppeard was accused of exploiting his role as a trusted and respected member of the church to fraudulently steal GBP 5,356,497 – of which GBP 3.4million was not recovered.
This week he paid the price for his dishonesty – a six year jail sentence for fraud handed down by Judge Anthony Goldstaub at the Chelmsford Crown Court after the disgraced former banker pleaded guilty to six counts.
Coppeard retired from Merrill Lynch in 2000 due to kidney disease but fell into financial trouble after losing GBP 1 million of his own money following the banking collapse of 2007.
One witness said that he was a trusted and respected member of the community:
"He had all the credentials – magistrate, church warden, successful stockbroker … That’s why people trusted him."
But Coppeard used the money they invested with him for gambling and spread betting with online sites between January 2008 and May 2013. Over that period he assured investors that he could quickly double their money, and then kept his scam going by making occasional payments to investors as returns on their investments in his basically Ponzi scheme.
With investor impatience mounting, Coppeard finally handed himself in to the police, prosecutor Peter Gair told the court, saying that Coppeard effectively came forward before he was pushed by his clients.
Gair said that it was unlikely that the defrauded investors would receive more than 10p in the pound on their money when a proceeds of crime hearing takes place next year.
Detective Constable John Vickers told the court that said Coppeard had preyed on his closest friends and family for his own gain.
"He has devastated the lives of a considerable number of people," he said.
Sentencing Coppeard, Judge Goldstaub said: "You attempted to square the circle in a dead market by spread betting and [online] casino gambling. This was always bound to fail – the house having the benefit of the odds.
"Upon the good work you did and your excellence of character you constructed a web of financial deceit … you trapped a mass of trusting and vulnerable people … [who] believed in you and you brought them to financial ruin."