Two charity scammers jailed for 12 months after posing as Help for Heroes fundraisers
PUBLISHED: 11:28 04 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:28 04 September 2015
The pair were instead pocketing the cash themselves
Two men have been jailed after a scam which saw them pretend to be ‘Help for Heroes’ charity collectors.
Kevin Rowbotham from Felixstowe Road, Abbey Wood was sentenced to 12 months in prison alongside his Kent-based accomplice Daniel Malone, of Falcone Green, Larkesfield, Maidstone. The pair were found guilty of impersonating collectors for military charity Help for Heroes, instead pocketing the cash themsleves.
They were seen collecting cash donations on March 5 2014 at Wembley park Underground Station while wearing ‘Help for Heroes’ branded jackets. When a British Transport Police (BTP) officer approached the pair, they showed ‘ID’ cards - which the charity does not use. The officer enquired if the pair had permission from the charity to collect at the station which was busy on the day due to a football game between England and Denmark. Malone gave the officer an email from the charity dated September 2013 which had authorised a registered event for the 40-year-old. However the event in question was a skydive, and not a football match.
When the officer left the men to inform other police so that an arrest could be made the pair slipped away. However after officers spoke with Help for Heroes, the pair were identified. On March 9 2014, police arrested Malone at his Maidstone home. He told police that all property relating to the charity was in his car.
On March 27 2014 Rowbotham was also arrested at his home address and various medals and certificates for fundraising were seized.
The investigation revealed that Rowbotham had been a registered collector for the charity in 2012 and was given 100 wristbands which he was expected to sell to raise funds. However, no donations from the sale of the products was ever recorded by the charity.
Malone was registered in 2011 and had previously taken part in a skydive and raised £800 for the charity. He was registered to do another skydive in April 2014. He had no authority for collecting at the England vs Denmark game in March.
Inspector Dan Tanner said: “These two men fraudulently made money from the travelling public at high profile events and unfortunately did so by affiliating themselves with Help for Heroes.
“No type of fraud or crime will be tolerated on the rail network and I am pleased with the sentence handed down will give them some time to reflect on their behaviour.”
Jo Pearce, income protection officer at Help for Heroes, said: “Malone and Rowbotham deceived the public into thinking they were making donations which would help our wounded. Instead they were cashing in on public goodwill and using the money for their own personal gain. Our anti-fraud measures helped the police catch him and we’re delighted they have now been brought to justice.”
Malone and Rowbotham were sentenced on August 28 at Blackfriars Crown Court.