Fraser White exploited his industry knowledge to defraud the Football Foundation, ultimately enjoying a high-flying lifestyle at the expense of struggling clubs.
A 24-year-old former director of the All Star Football Academy in Maidenhead was convicted of defrauding the UK’s leading sports charity, the Football Foundation, out of nearly £200,000, reported UK media.
Fraser White utilised the ill-gotten gains to follow the England football team during the 2022 Qatar World Cup. According to reports, White showcased his exploits on social media, spending £7,000 on high-end designer clothes and attending England’s qualifying matches in Malta, Spain, and Italy.
Leveraging his role and industry knowledge, White orchestrated 34 fraudulent grant applications purportedly on behalf of nine genuine football clubs in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire from June 2020 to February 2023.
To lend credibility to his scam, White purchased software subscriptions to fabricate documents under false names and opened ten different bank accounts to funnel the stolen money.
Prosecutor Jack Walsh revealed that White had applied for £231,038 in total, successfully securing £199,433, which he subsequently exhausted.
The Football Foundation disclosed that, due to an overwhelming number of grant applications following the Covid-19 pandemic, several clubs missed out on much-needed funds because of White’s fraudulent activities.
White, who also previously worked as a ticketing executive for Reading FC, confessed to what the judge termed a “well-planned and sophisticated fraud.”
He has been sentenced to 32 months in prison by the Reading Crown Court.
Ticket reseller imprisoned
Earlier this year, another British ticket scalper who was barred from all football stadiums was locked up in the United Kingdom after authorities confirmed he travelled to Qatar for the World Cup late last year.
48-year-old Stuart O’Brien pretended to be in Ireland for a family event when detectives rang his family home and a relative informed them that he was in fact in Qatar.
For purchasing tickets in bulk and reselling them for profit in Liverpool, he was given a five-year football ban back in February 2021.
He was prohibited from attending any matches in the United Kingdom and was not permitted to be in a certain areas near Liverpool FC’s home stadium for six hours prior to kickoff and for one hour following the game.
O’Brien was also banned from travelling to Qatar for the World Cup late last year.
All those affected by the World Cup bans received letters from the Football Banning Orders Authority (FBOA) on 17 October instructing them to turn in their passports at their local police station.
O’Brien, a resident of Liverpool’s Anfield neighbourhood, was given a pass after claiming he would be attending a family wedding in Ireland. He said he would go on 14 November, arrive back on 17 November, and turn in his passport the next day.
He had also handed in documentation of his reservations for travel and lodging.
Through an email on 17 November, he informed the FBOA that he would be spending an additional week with family in Ireland. He presented documentation of a hotel booking that covered a stay through to 4 December.
The FBOA twice sent the ticket salesman emails requesting him to confirm his return flight reservation to the UK, but did not receive a response back.
On 1 December, a policeman called his residence and requested to talk with him, upon which a relative replied with “he’s in Qatar”.
Police who searched the home of a relative in the city’s Everton neighbourhood regarding an unrelated incident found a Hayya card along with several hospitality option tickets for various England games in Qatar and a large number of tickets for the USA versus Wales match on 21 November.
During the World Cup last year, British police personnel on duty in Qatar also sent photos to Merseyside Police of O’Brien.
The discoveries led to his arrest and on 26 April at Sefton Magistrates’ Court, he entered a plea of guilty to disobeying a football ban and was sentenced to a 12-week jail term.
Last year, England’s football team embarked on a thrilling run in the 2022 World Cup, but ultimately fell short in a nail-biting quarter final clash against France.
After a dominating 3-0 victory over Senegal, the team faced an uphill battle against the defending champions, a French squad boasting offensive firepower in the form of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappe.