Richmond Motor Club Almost Bankrupted by Gambling Addict
Gambling addict almost bankrupted Richmond motor club with £66,000 theft.
A 68-year-old Elizabeth Russell looted £58,500 from the funds of Richmond Motor Club and another £8,350 from a local church council to fund a gambling addiction.
Russell was appointed a treasurer in mid-2014 by the Motor Club, which holds one of the biggest motorcycles in the world, including the annual Scott Trial. She was given the responsibility of managing their finances and banking or both organiz,ations despite having convictions for false accounting and obtaining services by deception.
The matter was tabled before the Teesside Crown Court where it was revealed that within the two years Russell pilfered the money in question from the organizations, she spent more than £160,000 on internet gambling sites.
Paul Newcombe, the prosecutor, said Russell’s crimes came to light when the accountants were examined in October 2016, and they showed discrepancies for the previous two years.
She was invited to a meeting to explain the huge financial discrepancies, but she refused. However, although she did not admit to stealing, she apologized, confessed about her habit, and said she would try to pay back the lost money.
Elizabeth Russell leaving the Court.
As police investigated the fraud and thefts, they discovered she was also the secretary of the Snape and Well Parochial Church Council, and an examination of its books showed £8,350 had been pocketed by Russell.
He said: “The theft of the money had serious consequences that almost bankrupted the club.
Nathan Stones said that the motor club had always made a profit until the theft, which had serious consequences that almost bankrupted the club and caused verbal confrontations and finger pointing between members and the committee that resulted in officials quitting their posts, and members leaving.
An impact statement from the churches said: “Members of the small congregations and others associated with the two churches have donated money and worked hard to raise funds.
In deciding the case before the court, Judge Sean Morris called online gambling a scourge. He called for tighter restrictions on the gambling industry, and told Russell that in his view, the industry are equally as culpable as you.”
The judge said that whilst the directors/operators make millions and drive away in their flashy cars, the courts are left picking up the pieces.
He went on to add that “it is just a shame that those who are in power are not more vigilant about a prevalence of those problems and the causes of those problems.”
Russell admitted to one charge of fraud and two of theft, and was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. The Judge also ordered her to do 25 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement to deal with her addiction and carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
The Judge said to Russell that she became so addicted to gambling that she was blinded to any morality, and stole and swindled, but you admitted it.
In his decision, the Judge considered that Russell admitted to the crimes and the testimonials of the good she does for others by people from Yorkshire who even though they know she has done wrong but chose to stand with her.
Miss Breen-Lawton, while mitigating for Russell, told the court that she has paid back almost £5,000 to the church council.
Miss Breen-Lawton also expressed the view that the cause of all of the issues is a gambling addiction, because it is far too easy to gamble online now, and Russell has fallen into the trap of that.