Issued on 14/9/18 at 12:05 p.m.
A charity fundraiser who duped people out of thousands of pounds has been convicted of fraud.
Gary Gardner, 56, of Old Holt Road, Medbourne, Leicestershire, was yesterday (Thursday 13 September) found guilty of fraud by abuse of position after a trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Today (Friday 14 September) he was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
He was also given a restraining order instructing to him to not make contact with Lee Rugby’s wife and son.
The court heard how Gardner claimed he was collecting money on behalf of Lee Rigby’s son by organising fundraising events.
Truck pull challenges were held across the country and individuals taking part were expected to pay an entry fee and sponsorship money to the organisers.
Concerns were raised by the wife of Fusilier Private Lee Rigby who was murdered in Woolwich in May 2013 after Gardner contacted her claiming he wanted to raise money for Lee’s son.
Lee’s son never received the money, and, following their complaint an investigation was launched.
The investigation revealed that Gardner used money he raised from the fundraising events to promote his own business interests.
Detective Constable Andy Cree of the force’s economic crime unit investigated the case. He said: “Gardner was a callous individual who exploited a good cause. He had no concerns in contacting a bereaved family for his own financial gain.
“This investigation was lengthy and complex, Gardner tried to cover his tracks and not leave a trace of his activity. However, we uncovered the true extent of his criminality and put him before the courts.
“We are pleased with the conviction and hope that those affected by his actions feel that justice has been served.”