THE treasurer of Swindon Cricket Club helped launder cash stolen by internet conmen so he could pay back money he had taken unlawfully from club funds.
Alan Biggins, 56, let Indian fraudsters use his bank account to process money fleeced from vulnerable victims.
He sent thousands of pounds to the sub-continent as his part in what is known as an advance fee fraud.
Rob Welling, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Biggins was involved in the scam where people in desperate need of funds were trying to get online loans.
“This money that was being laundered through his bank account was clearly the proceeds of advance fee frauds perpetrated on British nationals who had fallen on hard times and were looking for loans over the internet,” he said.
The victims would be told they needed to hand over a ‘processing fee’, followed by taxes and other payments before they could get the loan. In order to give the Indian operation some credibility they used Biggins’ UK bank account to receive the payments.
Most of the victims only made a few small payments before realising they were being cheated, as the loans never materialised.
Mr Welling said it was accepted the defendant got involved with the conmen when he was trying to raise funds after unlawfully taking money from the cricket club.
He said there was an agreement between the parties for him to repay what he took, and there had been no complaint of theft from the club.
Biggins, of Cumberland Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of transferring criminal property between the start of December 2011 and the end of January 2012.
Although more than £20,000 left his bank account for India, Mr Welling said the Crown accepted he had only laundered £2,604.
Rob Ross, defending, said Biggins was hoping to return to work as an accountancy assistant, but currently had a job in a warehouse so he could repay what he took from the cricket club.
“He is a man who is well thought of and has done a lot of work for the cricket club,” he said.
“He got into financial difficulties and foolishly borrowed money from the cricket club, got into worse difficulties and got involved in this advance fee fraud.
“Because of what he took from the cricket club, he was desperate to repay it. I am sure in his right mind without financial difficulties he would have realised from the start it was a scam and got out.”
Passing sentence Judge Euan Ambrose said: “You were the treasurer of Swindon Cricket Club and you borrowed some money you were not entitled to borrow. You then set about trying to obtain money to repay the club and that set on the path that ultimately led to this court.
“You are here because prior to coming to an arrangement with the club you tried to take out a loan to repay the club and in doing so you yourself became the victim of a scam.
“Having come into contact with the people who operate this scam you were then persuaded by them to allow your bank account to be used as a conduit through which funds were transferred from this country to theirs.”
He put him on a 12-month community order and told him to do 180 hours of unpaid work.