Peter N. Campbell-Copp, 64, of Dillingham Avenue, Manchester, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to two felony counts of false pretenses. He was held at the Rutland jail for lack of $15,000 bail and ordered not to have contact with Janice Venable, 76. Should Campbell-Copp be released he must check in daily at the Manchester Police Station.
In April, Campbell-Copp pleaded no contest to 15 felony counts of false pretenses, theft of services, and four misdemeanor counts of bad checks. He was given six months to serve and a five- to 20-year suspended sentence. He also signed multiple restitution orders. Campbell-Copp did this shortly before a three-week trial was to commence. According to police, Campbell-Copp defrauded dozens of aspiring authors by accepting payments between $8,000 and $10,000 from them in order to publish their books -- something he either did not do at all or did not do in a timely manner.
On Sept. 2, Venable spoke to Manchester Police Sgt. Daniel Steere, who according to his affidavit investigated the author complaints against Campbell-Copp which were first filed in 2011.
Venable showed police a contract she had signed with Campbell-Copp in which he claimed to be a consultant for three companies seeking investments to grow their profit margins.
"Jay Venable has agreed to advance Mr. Campbell-Copp $15,000 against funds that are due Mr. Campbell-Copp for the purpose of obtaining legal counsel for managing Mr. Campbell-Copp's future welfare," reads part of the agreement.
Campbell-Copp agreed to pay Venable back the $15,000 plus $10,000 in interest within 30 days of the contract being signed, which was on Feb. 14. The contract was later amended to where Venable agreed to lend Campbell-Copp an additional $13,000. It also included a payment schedule which held that $13,000 would be due on March 29, $25,000 due in the first week of April, and $10,000 due in the second week of April.
Venable said she received a letter from Campbell-Copp on Aug. 6 saying he hoped to have her money soon. She said she had also spoken to Campbell-Copp's wife, who gave her excuses.
Venable did receive $2,000 from Campbell-Copp with a letter indicating a balance was still due of $46,000. Earlier she had received a letter from Campbell-Copp saying because of the extended time period, Venable would get more back in interest.
Steere wrote that he contacted the three companies Campbell-Copp claimed to be a consultant for. Two of them had disconnected phone lines while the third said that while it did agree to give 3 percent of a $1.5 million investment should Campbell-Copp secure it, the company never had any cause to pay Campbell-Copp anything.
Steere wrote that at the time Campbell-Copp entered into the agreement with Venable, he was accused of owing more than $100,000 to authors with whom he had made previous arrangements. Campbell-Copp did not have the means to pay back the $28,000 borrowed or the interest he agreed to pay.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.