A SENIOR official at a leading golf club in Yorkshire has been jailed after his treasurer turned detective to expose a fraud running into tens of thousands of pounds.
Disgraced golfer Nicholas Redman, 56, contributed to his own financial downfall by blowing cash on gambling tips supplied by fellow members of Malton and Norton golf club.
He abused his position of trust as managing secretary for nearly two years – until new treasurer Rachel Thomas unearthed the fraud.
York Crown Court was told yesterday that while working on the club accounts in January she discovered a loss of about £44,000 for the previous year. Determined to find out why, she came across an invoice made out to Summ Park CLS, of Dunnington, near York, for drainage work.
After coming across a second bill from the same company for drainage work to the club cellar, she rang the number on the invoice and found the line was dead.
She checked the VAT number with the tax office and found it was invalid. Then she visited the address on the invoice and found the occupant had never heard of the company.
Checking the club’s electronics payments system, she found the company was being sent amounts nearly every month. She passed the account details onto police – who found it was one of Redman’s old accounts from when he was running his own business.
It was discovered there had been 43 payments into the account between September 2010 and January this year, plus four to another account, totalling £44,606, of which only £600 remained.
Simon Myers, defending, said his client got the job in Malton after his own business was forced to close. But he was still living in Baildon, near Shipley, where he had been the president of Baildon Golf Club.
He did not want to move because he did not want to disrupt his children’s schooling, and even though he was on a decent salary he faced crippling commuting costs on top of existing hefty mortgage bills.
The social side of the managing secretary’s job also involved in him in further expense, Mr Myers added.
He said: “A broken man appears before you today. He is thoroughly ashamed of himself. He is unforgiving of himself not only for what may happen to him but for the shame he has brought on his family who have found it very difficult to come to terms with what he has done.
“His wife is in court today but they are effectively estranged, although still living under the same roof.”
The barrister asked for a suspended sentence for Redman who had been “living way beyond his means”.
Mr Myers said: “It actually came as a relief when a new treasurer was appointed to the club and when he was found out – because he knew he would be.
“It was only a matter of time. He thought about trying to pay the money back but there was no way of doing that without exposing himself.”
Jailing Redman for 16 months, however, Judge Andrew Haslam underlined there had also been gambling debts.
He said: “You used the money to fund your considerable commuting costs and substantial mortgage and a part went on golfing trips and gambling tips you obtained from members of the golf club involved in the racing world.”
The judge told the court he was dealing with Redman on the basis that he had been “a pillar of the community” whose offending had been “totally out of character”.
But balanced against this, Redman had been in a position of trust and the offences had been committed over a long period.
Redman, of Summerfield Drive, Baildon, admitted one offence of fraud by abuse of position.
Malton and Norton was founded in 1910 and is the “home club” of York-born European Tour professional Simon Dyson.
It has been described by veteran commentator Peter Allis as “North Yorkshire’s hidden gem”.