Official took £250k from club coffers to fund infatuation with webcam girl
A man who stole £250,000 from AFC Fylde splashed the cash on lavish gifts for a glamour webcam model he had become infatuated with, a court was told.
Andrew Barnbrook, 37, worked as an accounts assistant at the club and transferred the money to his personal account to fund a series of online sessions with the model, who charges £8 a minute, Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard.
The money - which the club says it has no way of recovering - was also spent on online gambling and expensive fashion items he gave as gifts to the woman.
Barnbrook, of Red Bank Road, Bispham, pleaded guilty to fraud.
The court heard the 37-year-old, who also paid for face-to-face visits with the model, had abused his position at National League side AFC Fylde for personal gain.
Neil White, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was in a position of responsibility involving access to the club’s accounts.
“He transferred £250,000 into his own accounts partly to fund on line gambling but the bulk of it to pay for the service of a web cam model with whom he had long interchanges .
“He also met her face-to-face for personal visits, which he also paid for.
“He would buy her presents - if there was something she wanted, she got it.”
Barnbrook’s lawyer, Leisa Stuart, told the court: “The only matters in dispute are not what he did but the period of time and the amount involved. We are awaiting the final figure.”
Barnbrook was granted unconditional bail by Blackpool magistrates who sent his case to Preston Crown Court for sentence due to the amount of money involved.
He will appear at the higher court in April.
AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite said after the hearing: “It is a very sad situation in many ways. I have built a business up from one employee in 1998 to over 300 worldwide today.
“Along the way you trust people to do certain things and follow certain processes. This case exposed the flaws in our systems that allowed Mr Barnbrook to take so much money without being challenged.
“It was a big wake-up call for us and unfortunately there were some internal casualties as a result of his actions.
“The sad thing is that the only person who benefited from all of this is a call girl in Manchester and someone we have absolutely no legal right to recover the money from.”
AFC Fylde, who play at Mill Farm in Wesham, currently sit fourth in the National League.