Essex church trustee in £5m congregation con charge

St John's Church, Buckhurst Hill Image copyright John Salmon
Image caption Member's of St John's in Buckhurst Hill are believed to have been conned out of more than £5m

A former church trustee alleged to have conned congregation members in Essex out of more than £5m has been charged with fraud.

Patrick Coppeard, 49, a former banker from Spring Grove, Loughton, was arrested last May.

It is believed he encouraged more than 60 members of St John's Church in Buckhurst Hill to hand over money to a fraudulent investment scheme.

Mr Coppeard will appear before magistrates in Chelmsford on 15 July.

The former employee of Merrill Lynch investment bank was arrested last year after voluntarily attending a police station.

He has been charged with fraud by abuse of position.

The alleged offences took place between 2008 and 2011.

Mr Coppeard was released on bail until his court appearance later this month.

He resigned from his position as a trustee of St John's in April 2013, a church spokesman said.

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