Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Pregnant Manchester City administrator sentenced to prison for stealing £100,000 from the club to pay for her wedding

Pregnant Manchester City administrator sentenced to prison for stealing £100,000 from the club to pay for her wedding

A former official of Manchester City who stole more than £100,000 to pay for her wedding has been imprisoned. Fiona Barclay, 33, worked as a business development manager in the hospitality section of City Football Club, earning up to £30,000 per year.

Now, though, Barclay, who is pregnant, is beginning an 18-month prison sentence for defrauding the club. She informed authorities that she used her ill-gotten riches to pay for her wedding and purchase ‘gifts’ for her husband and family after being caught.

Barclay, a native of Scotland, sobbed during the hearing before to her imprisonment. The Manchester Crown Court heard that Barclay was broken after accountants detected a suspicious transaction in March of last year, when a refund of £25,000 was given.

The fact that it was a large round figure, according to prosecutor Ellen Shaw, was suspicious. Barclay was interrogated, and she admitted that she had committed a “mistake” and apologized.

She admitted transferring $15,000 of the whole amount into her own bank account and refunded the money to the club. But additional investigation revealed that Barclay had been stealing money from the club since June of 2019.

Fiona Barclay, 33, told authorities that she spent the money on ‘various parts of her wedding’ and “gifts for her spouse and family”

She had stolen about £104,000 in all. After Barclay returned the $15,000, City still owes £89,000 in debt. The club’s internal disciplinary actions led to Barclay’s dismissal in March of last year.

She told authorities that she spent the money on ‘various parts of her wedding’ and “gifts for her spouse and family” after a criminal inquiry was initiated. She pleaded guilty to the fraud by abuse of position offense.

Patrick Buckley, representing Barclay, argued that he should not be sent to prison. According to him, Barclay had left her home in Scotland to accept the position and had become isolated.

“It seems that being hundreds and hundreds of miles away from home, isolated and lonely, solace was sought in retail therapy,” he said. “The problem was that the retail therapy was at the expense of her employer.”

Mr Buckley said Barclay is ‘utterly disgusted with herself’. “There is nothing in terms of reason or logical reason why she did what she did,” the barrister added.

“It must have been inevitable that she would eventually be caught.” He said the impact of the case has been ‘utterly heartbreaking’ for her and that her mental health has suffered.

Since being fired by City, she has obtained employment with a travel agency and disclosed her conviction. The court heard that Barclay attempted to contact City to negotiate return of the stolen funds, but received no response.

Her spouse and family have supported her, according to Mr. Buckley, who added that her conviction will endure forever. “Whatever lesson needs to be taught has thoroughly been taught,” he appealed to the judge.

However, Recorder Ciaran Rankin incarcerated Barclay. “This is a tragedy, you have thrown so much away because of your dishonesty, and, I’m afraid, pure greed,” he told her.

“You were employed in a good job, as a business development manager at Manchester City. Ultimately that was a job with some responsibility.”

The judge stated that relegation was not a term associated with the Premier League champions City, but that she herself had been relegated. He added,”I’m afraid you have relegated yourself because of your greed and deception into the ranks of those who can no longer call themselves a person of good character.

“Despite everything that has been said on your behalf, there can only be an immediate custodial sentence. With great regret, Ms Barclay, please go with the officer.”

Barclay, of Drum Farm Lane, Falkirk, will serve six months of her 18-month prison sentence. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, she will now be investigated to determine whether any of her ill-gotten gains can be recouped.

Pregnant Manchester City administrator sentenced to prison for stealing £100,000 from the club to pay for her wedding

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