Jail for man who faked £7m will to cheat charity

A man has been jailed after he faked a relative’s will to prevent a charity benefitting from a multi-million pound legacy.

Paul Coppola, 65, admitted forging the signature of Desiderio Coppola just days before his death.

The deceased left his £7m estate to be divided between his family and wished for the balance to be left to the charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Paul Coppola was set to receive £100,000.

However, days before Desiderio Coppola’s death, the court was told Paul Coppola presented a new will to the family that made no mention of the charity.

Fiscal Ann MacNeill told the court that the day after Desiderio Coppola’s death, the accused contacted his goddaughter, Elvira Fearn, to tell her about the content of the faked document.

The fiscal said: “Although she had no knowledge of the wills or the deceased’s intentions, she was suspicious of the will because she was aware that the deceased hated to pay tax and she did not believe that he would have omitted Medecins Sans Frontieres completely and left the residue to the accused as there would have been a large tax liability to pay.”

She added: “Elvira Fearn was of the opinion that the changes to the will reflected the accused’s allegiances rather than the wishes of the deceased.”

Sheriff Frank Crowe said: “Your actions caused much grief, inconvenience and disappointment to the other legatees and your friends and uncertainty to the tenants of properties which were rented from the deceased.”

Coppola was jailed for two years at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.