A SERIAL con man who stole tens of thousands of pounds intended for city charities was warned he faced a "substantial" sentence after admitting 20 separate charges.
"The Reverend" George Gordon, 52, plundered cash from a fund that was supposed to be given out to good causes in Liverpool.
The veteran swindler, who bought his title from a website, pretended that various city charities needed funds for training and staff but pocketed the cash himself.
The charities drawn into his web included the Merseyside Disability Federation, the Manic Depressive Fellowship, Surviving Suicide Counselling and Support and the Phoenix Survivors group.
The amount of cash listed on the charge sheet was around £30,000, but it is believed the total loss to charities is far higher.
Gordon was first arrested in 2008 when police started investigating one of his scams, but he jumped bail and was not seen again until a national appeal to track him down revealed he had fled to Durham.
Gordon, of Chancellor Court, Toxteth, had denied the allegations but changed his plea on the day he was to have stood trial.
He pleaded guilty to nine counts of obtaining money by deception and 11 counts of fraud.
Six other charges were left to lie on the file after prosecutors said it was not in the public interest to pursue them, even though there was "clear evidence" he committed them.
Judge Stephen Everett said: "This was a late guilty plea but I'm sure it was the right one. This was an overwhelming case."
He observed that Gordon had previously been convicted of "strikingly similar" crimes in 1988, and had served separate three-year and four- year sentences for theft and obtaining money by deception in the 1990s.
Gordon’s barrister, Elizabeth Power, said he had "buried his head in the sand" after his initial arrest but since he was recaptured had attended every court date.
She asked for him to be granted bail in order to put his affairs in order .
But Judge Everett said: "The sentence is going to be a substantial one. It has to be borne in mind that the defendant is undoubtedly a professional con man.
"He is a man who cannot be believed when he says certain things.
"The fact that he went missing for three years and the fact that he knows full well he’s going to get a long sentence says to me there is a substantial risk of him failing to surrender."
He had Gordon taken into custody ahead of his sentencing appearance on March 22.
He told Gordon: "You are a professional con man. Time has finally caught up with you, again."