Man admits embezzling £6,000 from Oban shinty club

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A 49-year-old man has admitted embezzling £6,000 from an Oban shinty club.

David Martin, of 30 Nant Drive, Soroba, Oban, pleaded guilty to spending the club’s money between September 2016 and March 2019.

Offences included a number of cash withdrawals, and buying items from Amazon, Wish, as well as Netflix, takeaways and groceries.

Procurator fiscal Eoin McGinty told the court that Martin was the treasurer of the club, which was set up in 2015, and one of the two signatories for its bank account.

‘It appears in 2016, the accused applied for a debit card that was linked to the account,’ Mr McGinty added.

The procurator fiscal explained that in 2017, Martin took a step back from the club and at the end of that year, the senior team disbanded. The under-14 branch continued until October 2018, before suffering the same fate.

Subsequently, a female shinty team was established and it was agreed that all of the assets would be transferred to the new club.

After a delay in the accused notifying the bank about the changes, the other signatory contacted the bank and failed the security questions when he was asked about the most recent transactions.

At that point, he was asked to attend his local branch. He said 129 of the 506 transactions on the account were questionable.

The committee members met on April 25, 2019, and concluded the matter needed to be reported to the police.

Martin was then arrested and was interviewed by the police.

‘During the course of that, police put to the accused a number of personal items that allegedly he had purchased from using that card,’ Mr McGinty said. ‘His initial position was that he himself, at the end of the shinty club, had set up a business from his home where he supplied shinty equipment.

‘His position was that he simply overlapped the funds by mistake.’

However, when it was put to him that many of the purchases were personal transactions at service stations, cash withdrawals and Netflix, for example, he accepted that ‘there came a point where he began to use the funds as his own personal funds’.

Mr McGinty added: ‘It was noted that the accused’s actions had a negative impact on the adult team and the female team had also been impacted.

‘The officers said the accused has shown remorse and wished to pay back the money to the shinty club.’

Sheriff Patrick Hughes said: ‘This is a serious matter and a serious breach of trust and it is one where the court will consider all sentencing options, including custody.’

Sheriff Hughes deferred sentencing until October 9, in order for the court to obtain a criminal justice and social work report, as well as a restriction of liberty order.