Scottish Premiership club, Hamilton Academical, have reportedly been defrauded of an estimated £1 million. The club was the victim of what has been called an “elaborate scheme” to swindle them out of cash.
There have been reports of online fraud taking place with payments not being received by Scottish clubs. Annan Athletic were to be paid £18,000 last August. However, the funds never made it to the club’s bank account. Instead, the money was filtered into a fraudulent account. The money was successfully retrieved, and Scottish police investigated the situation.
It now appears a similar situation has occurred with Hamilton. The Scottish club have the smallest budget in the Scottish Premiership, and the funds that were lost had to be covered by the team’s directors.
Club chairman, Les Gray, released a statement addressing the situation with the club.
“Hamilton Academical FC have been the target of an elaborate fraud resulting in the loss of a substantial sum of monies.” Gray also added, “a criminal investigation to pursue those individuals responsible,” Gray said.
“At this point it is imperative that we remain calm and work together as we go through one of the most difficult situations we have faced as a club. In the interim, the directors intend to inject funds to meet the club’s ongoing obligations until the investigation is complete to ensure continuity.
“It is our intention to host a media briefing to go into more detail when the initial legal and banking investigations reveal the facts. This will allow us to give full disclosure of the event. No further comment will be made at this time as the police investigation continues.”
Hamilton average the smallest home attendance of all Scottish Premiership clubs. Just 2,500 fans turn up to the team’s home matches. According to the Scottish Sun newspaper, the team’s players will still receive their wages following the fraud scheme.
“The club doesn’t have an overdraft so money has been stockpiled with a view to using it on remedial work at the stadium, building an indoor training pitch and other facilities,” a Hamilton spokesperson stated. “The theft was discovered earlier this week.
“Players and staff were gathered together for a meeting in the last 48 hours and given assurances that their wages would not be in jeopardy.
“This is one of the most difficult situations we have faced.”
Around £350,000 that were stole from Hamilton were set to be used to upgrade the club’s current stadium.
One report has stated the team lost their money through a phone scheme. All 42 Scottish league teams are now on alert that something similar could happen to them.
It is believed that Scottish team Hearts were also ripped off. The team lost £80,000 through an internet-based fraud scheme.
Investigations have already revealed that the fraudsters are most likely in the United Kingdom and not abroad.