A football club trust finance director who stole more than £ 2,000 from fans in a ‘catastrophic breach of trust’ has been jailed.

Mike Nuttall, 39, fraudulently wrote six checks from funds raised by Oldham Athletic supporters to support his own bankrupt business.

But after being scolded when concerned officials launched an investigation, he was locked up for 16 weeks in Manchester Magistrates’ Court where a district judge criticized his behavior.

Nuttall, of Samuel Street, Levenshulme, took over the job at Oldham Athletic Supporters Trust, which was started by fans to help the club, in 2009.

He was brought in because the organization’s finances were in disarray, the court said.

But when he didn’t give concrete answers when asked how much was in the accounts, Trust chairman Barry Owen launched an investigation and discovered he had stolen £ 2,423.

Matthew Siddall, prosecutor, said: “There is a fairly long and difficult to read impact statement from Mr Owen who states that he had the greatest confidence in Mr Nuttall. He adds that he cannot quantify the impact his actions will have on future donations to the Trust. “

Defending Nuttall, who had previously pleaded guilty to six counts of abuse of position fraud, Leveene Hill said the checks were issued to pay accumulated bills at the Junction Pub on Huddersfield Road, which he took over with a friend and who had struggled to make money.

She added that her client was under extreme financial pressure, was waiting for a tax refund that never materialized, and had stopped taking prescribed antidepressants.

But District Judge Khalid Qureshi strongly rejected the allegations – and his plea for community order.

“The pre-sentence report says he was taking his medication,” he said. “And it wasn’t extreme financial pressure – the money was used to do nothing but support a struggling business enterprise.

“He is not ignorant – he has a degree in economics and worked in finance. He knew full well that the discount would not be granted.”

Sentencing Nuttall to 16 weeks, of which he will serve eight, the judge added: “It was a catastrophic breach of trust. This was an organization specially created to help Oldham Football Club.

“The funds came from the working class, often from the poor who support the club because that’s what they were raised with.

“These funds were not to ensure the prosperity of the club, let’s face it, but to ensure that it continues to exist under very difficult circumstances.”

District Judge Qureshi also asked why the case, which was heard in Oldham, was sent to Manchester for sentencing.

“It still puzzles me why this could not be heard at Oldham,” he said. “Surely an Oldham bench would have been better placed to assess its impact on the community.”

Nuttall, who is unemployed and supported by his partner, appeared stunned when he was handcuffed and shot dead.



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