Tayside and Central Scotland

'Walter Mitty' character admits £60,000 charity theft

Dundee Sheriff Court
Image caption James Reilly admitted one charge of embezzlement at Dundee Sheriff Court

A man has admitted stealing £60,000 from a veterans charity supported by TV presenter Lorraine Kelly.

James Reilly, 66, from Balmullo in Fife, embezzled the money from the Tayforth Veterans Project between 24 February 2012 and 29 October 2013.

He had set up the charity in 2011, with Ms Kelly doing the honours at the opening in Dundee.

Reilly admitted a single charge of embezzlement and will be sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court next month.

He had served as a project manager and trustee of the charity, which saw him entrusted with the safekeeping of its funds.

The charity was set up by Reilly with the aim of supporting former service personnel with mental health, housing, employment, training and benefits issues.

'Green beret'

His defence agent, solicitor John Boyle, told the court: "He pleads guilty to the amended indictment.

"There have been detailed discussions about this case with the Crown."

Prosecutor Vicki Bell told the court: "He has no previous convictions. The Crown moves for sentence."

Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released Reilly on bail.

A number of former servicemen had gathered outside the court.

Among them was former marine Stuart Lavery, chairman of the 45 Commando Veterans group. He described Reilly as a "Walter Mitty character".

He added: "He claims to have been in the marines, to have served with the SBS (Special Boat Service) - but it isn't true. He's not entitled to wear the green beret.

"We gave him thousands of pounds over the years."

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