Ex chairman of Biggleswade Rugby and Squash Club on trial for fraud

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The former chairman of Biggleswade Rugby and Squash Club has gone on trial accused of carrying out a fraud on the club.

Michael Adams is said to have raised fake invoices to then obtain money to the tune of around £4000 from the club.

The offences allegedly came to light after Mr Adams presented an invoice to the club for £200, which was supposedly a bill for some architectural drawings that had been done.

The chairman is said to have made out that the man behind the plans wanted payment and, as a result, he was given the money.

But Luton crown court was told today the drawings had been produced by club member and Architectural Designer Thomas O’Connor who had said he would do the drawings for free as a favour to the club.

Avirup Chaudhuri, prosecuting, said that as a result, the club, in Langford Road, Biggleswade, carried out an investigation into a whole series of “questionable” transactions and invoices involving Mr Adams which came to £4000.

The jury were told that the chairman was called in for a meeting and agreed he had produced false documents to reimburse himself for money he had spent buying goods and supplies for the club.

In the dock Mr Adams, 51, Dickens Court, Biggleswade pleads not guilty to false accounting and fraud.

Mr Chaudhuri told the court the offences dated back to 2016 when the defendant had been chairman of the club.

The court was told that because of money going missing from the club, the practice was that the float and bar takings would be kept at the home of bar manager, Sam Cox.

The prosecutor said on the morning of August 26 2016 she took a phone call at home from Mr Adams who told her he had received an invoice for £200 from Mr O’Connor who needed paying for some architectural planning drawings he’d done.

The court was told he arranged to call at her home and collect the money which he duly did that same afternoon.

In fact, said Mr Chaudhuri, when other members at the club got to hear about it “there was concern” because it was widely known that Mr O’Connor, who was a club member, had said he would do the drawings for free and as a favour to the club.

The jury was told that when Mr O’Connor was shown the invoice, he said it was a fake.

In early September of that year “senior officers” at the club and long standing members held a meeting and it was decided to call Mr Adams in so he could explain what had happened.

“He agreed he had falsified that invoice and other invoices and the reason he gave was to reimburse himself money he had spent buying goods and supplies for the club,” said Mr Chaudhuri.

The prosecutor said Mr Adams apologised and offered to pay the money back and it was then suggested he step down as chairman.

The jury was told other transactions and invoices amounting go £4000 were investigated by the club.

Mr Chaudhuri said they were all considered to be “questionable” and, in November of 2016, Mr Adams was seen once more by fellow club members and agreed creating the false invoices “to balance the books” and account for money paid out in cash.

He claimed he had done it with the full knowledge of the club treasurer and had not acted dishonestly.

Case proceeding