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Valerie Charbit leading Leila Chaker secure convictions of 4 men who stole donations made to a charity

4. Aug 2020

Valerie Charbit, leading Leila Chaker, secured convictions of 4 men who stole donations made to a charity of which they were trustees or professional fundraisers.  David Papagavriel and Terence Kelly were trustees of the charity Open Doors. They entered a contract with their co-defendants, Ian and Peter Ellis, professional fundraisers, on behalf of the charity.

Promoting Open Doors as a military charity, Ian and Peter Ellis, father and son, raised at least £547,000 from members of the public by collecting money at railway stations etc.

Less than 10% of this sum was spent on charitable work. However, David Papagvriel acting as a trustee, fraudulently diverted that money away from those who should have benefitted from it.

Ian and Peter Ellis were meant to transfer £138,000 out of £547,000 to Open Doors under the contract terms. Instead they transferred only £83,000, keeping £54,000. Open Doors spent approximately £54,000 on charitable purposes  but much of this was spent after the arrests of the defendants.  Even then Open Doors received a further £94,000 from the Charities Aid Foundation and Charitable Giving so in fact Open Doors actually kept £49,000 donated by the public to charitable causes.

This was a complicated financial fraud investigated by the British Transport Police and CPS which required a thorough analysis of many bank accounts and banking transactions to unravel what had happened. The defendants only pleaded guilty at the close of the prosecution case.

David Papagavriel, Peter Ellis, and Ian Ellis received thousands of pounds in cash and electronic transfers into their bank accounts; money which they accepted they had stolen. David Papagavriel bought himself a car with money donated by members of the public to charity and a caravan which he rented out to holiday makers, keeping the profit for himself. Terence Kelly signed declarations made to the Charity’s Commission which provided false information regarding the charity’s finances.

All four defendants today received custodial sentences which were suspended and the officers investigating the case were commended. Confiscation orders were made.

News Articles: [The Daily Mail] [The Sun]

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