A former boxer and advocate for teenagers in the Colorado Springs area is under arrest for what investigators say is a “scam” of the county’s Community Service program.
On Thursday afternoon, undercover officers arrested 45-year-old Hulond "Coach" Copeland. According to police, Copeland claimed to help criminals but in reality, he lured them back into a life of crime. KKTV’s Jeff Marcu was with the special undercover unit, called VNI, when they made the arrest. This is what he found, in this exclusive investigation.
For more than 10 years, “Coach” Copeland has worked with El Paso County law enforcement agencies to provide a way for people who are convicted of crimes to serve their court-ordered community service. Now his is under arrest for falsifying community service records and accepting money in exchange for providing proof that those community service hours were indeed worked. But the investigators say there’s more to this case. They say Copeland also dealt illegal drugs and offered sex with prostitutes to those who were sentenced to serve community service.
Unknowingly, Copeland also offered these services to undercover cops. Over the past few months, a number of undercover officers went to Copeland. They were posing as offenders who needed to work community service hours at a gym he claims he runs. But police say, no gym even exists.
"I brought my paperwork there, and he did in fact offer to sign off my 48-hours of community service for $75," says one of the undercover officers. "He gave me hours before the days even occurred."
But the cops say the illegal activity didn't stop there. One officer says Copeland sold him a quantity of crack cocaine. Another says Copeland offered him something else. “He told me about a girl that was back at his apartment, and indicated to me that he was a pimp and that the girl was for sale."
Ironically, Copeland is listed with six different agencies in El Paso County that refer people to programs where they can complete their community service.
We did some research and found Hulond “Coach” Copeland has a criminal record with more than 20 hits. That includes charges for drugs, assault, domestic violence and escape. As of Thursday, he now has more charges to add to his record. According to Colorado Springs police, he now faces four counts of Forgery (class 5 felony), 2 counts of Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (class 3 felony), 2 counts Distribution of Marijuana (class 4 felony), Pimping (class 3 felony). Copeland is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Also arrested on Thursday was 19-year-old Leah DuPree. She was wanted on outstanding warrants for distribution of Marijuana (class 4 felony) and a misdemeanor signed complaint. Investigators believe DuPree will face additional charges relating to Copeland’s activities. She is also being held on $50,000 bond.
The police investigation does not end here. Officers will be looking at everyone who fulfilled his or her community service through Copeland and may have paid him for his signature. VNI investigators are quick to say, people who come forward are wanted only as witnesses in the case and will not face charges. However, people who do not come forward as witnesses could be charged for providing false information on a sworn affidavit, which is a felony.
The contact number for potential witnesses is 444-3111.
KKTV will continue to investigate this case.