Fleetwood man accused of club fraud

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The former operations manager of Fleetwood Town FC was involved in a £7,000 ticket refund scam to line his own pockets, a court heard.

David Holloway, 31, of Rossall Grange Lane, Fleetwood, denies abusing his position at the League One football club by fraudulently making false ticket refunds between July 2014 and June 2015, and is on trial at Preston Crown Court.

No club of this size can afford any leakage of money

He is accused of embarking on the scam along with another man, and it is alleged he gave excessive refunds totalling £4,696 for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.

Prosecuting, Tim Evans said: “This case concerns frauds perpetrated on Fleetwood Town FC. The fraud was in essence a simple one.

“What was happening was this – refunds were purportedly given on match tickets for cash and, the Crown say, the cash refunds were not going to the holders of the tickets but were going into the pockets of this defendant and indeed another man who was running the same scam at the same time, called Hart. You can be sure that he at least is guilty of this sort of refund fraud – he has admitted his guilt in relation to it.

“It is plain that the transactions that you are concerned with in this trial were frauds because the refunds were given after the kick-off of matches on tickets that had been used – there was nothing therefore to be refunded on the ticket.

“The total sum of the loss to the club by these frauds was £4,696 for this defendant and £3,857 (for Hart). These are not the millions that wash around Premier League clubs but no club of the size of Fleetwood Town FC can afford any leakage of money. In any event, taking money by fraud is in effect stealing that money.”

The court heard Holloway worked for the club for three years and Hart for a number of years in the ticket office. Mr Evans said the fraud came to light on Thursday February 25 last year, a few days after a match against Scunthorpe.

The club’s chief executive Stephen Curwood, who is expected to give evidence, was made aware of a discrepancy from the tills in the ticket office and a probe was launched. It revealed an ‘unusual’ £100 cheque refund and further investigations were carried out.

Mr Evans said they found the number of refunds was in excess of normal business. A variety of reasons was given by user ‘dholloway’ for his refunds, the main one being a ‘prize giveaway’, as well as ‘under 16 pending’ and ‘visiting team coach driver’.