A gambling addict almost drove a British motor club to bankruptcy by stealing some funds which ended up with resignations, arguments and internal rifts. The 68-year-old Elizabeth Russell misappropriated a total amount of £58,500 from the Richmond Motor Club’s funds, as well as a further amount of more than £8,300 from a local church council to fuel her gambling habits.
The woman, who served as a treasurer for both the Richmond Motor Club and the church council, had been previously sentenced for false accounting and illegally obtaining services by using deception.
At the hearing which took place at the Teesside Crown Court it became clear that the money was stolen by Ms. Russell over a period of two years. As reported by The Northern Echo, at the time, she spent a total amount exceeding £160,000 on online gambling websites.
As a result of the hearing, a judge on the case called for tighter control to be imposed on the industry.
On the other hand, Nathan Stones from the Richmond Motor Club revealed that the wrongdoings of Elizabeth Russell had detrimental effect on the organisation, as they almost brought it to bankrupt. Mr. Stones shared that the good name of the organisation, which had always made a profit until the misappropriations of Ms. Russell, was seriously hurt. He explained that the former treasurer’s actions have caused great turmoil at the club, which ended up in “verbal confrontations” between the club’s members and the Committee and also resulted in some local officials’ resignations.
Investigation Showed Serious Misappropriations
At the hearing it also became clear that Ms. Russell had been appointed as a treasurer by the Richmond Motor Club that is known for holding some of the largest motorcycle trials on a global scale around the middle of 2014. While serving at the position, the woman had the responsibility to take care of the Club’s banking and finances. As revealed by Prosecutor Paul Newcombe, the crimes she did in terms of stealing funds from the organisation were brought to light during an examination of the accountants in October 2016 which showed financial inconsistencies for the previous two years.
Ms. Russell was invited to take part in a meeting in order to provide explanation about the discrepancies, but she refused. Still, she did confess she had misappropriated the funds and apologised for what she did, explaining she had been facing difficulties to deal with her problem gambling behaviour. She further pledged to try to return the money.
At the time the investigation was held, the police found out that Ms. Russell also served as secretary of the Snape and Well Parochial Church Council. Further checks proved that an amount of £8,350 was missing from the church council’s accounts.
As mentioned above, the actions of Ms. Russell were said to have caused great upset to both past and present club members, not to mention the financial consequences that occurred for the two organisations affected.