Former Lincoln City general manager faces more jail time

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A former general manager at Lincoln City FC faces more jail time if he fails to pay back the money he took from the club.

John Vickers was given a 14 month jail sentence in January after pleading guilty at Lincoln Crown Court to a charge of fraud by abuse of position. The court was told that he used the money to fund a gambling addiction.

Today in a six minute hearing Vickers, who was freed from custody earlier this month under an early release scheme, was ruled to have benefitted from his crime by £36,212. The court was told that he has assets to cover the amount.

Judge Simon Hirst ordered that the £36,212 should be confiscated and paid as compensation to Lincoln City. He ordered that Vickers pay the money within three months or face an additional nine month jail sentence.

In January the court was told that the long-standing club employee took thousands of pounds from the Imps Birthday Lotto and the club’s Paypal accounts to fund a gambling addiction.

Eunice Opare-Addo, prosecuting, told the January hearing that Vickers transferred cash into his own Paypal account on more than 200 occasions over a period of years.

She said Vickers worked for the club from 2001 and became general manager around 2010 but was moved to a different role in the summer of 2017 following a review and as a result was asked to hand over access details to the two accounts.

Miss Opare-Addo said: “These were requested on multiple occasions but those requests were ignored. As a result he was suspended on 16 September 2017.

“Following his suspension his mobile phone and lap top were seized and the company was able to obtain access. They discovered the account was empty. There were a total of 287 transfers. The last transfer was on 14 September 2017.”

Miss Opare-Addo said that £3,225 has since been repaid to the club.

Vickers, 48 , of London Road, Bracebridge Heath, admitted a charge of fraud by abuse of position relating to the period between 1 January 2006 and 17 September 2017.

Ian Way, for Vickers, said: “Lincoln City Football Club has been a passion and a love of his since his childhood days.

“He could not believe his own good fortune when in 2001 he became a part of the family at the club.

“It is also true to say that the commitments and responsibilities did take a toll on him. It was long hours and a lot of travelling.”

“The root of this is gambling. It is something he became associated with from a very young age.

“Living in a family that managed public houses he found himself with access to slot machines and their use was something that was normal.”

Mr Way said that Vickers initially was able to fund his habit from his own funds but from 2006 began taking from the club.

“There were no Caribbean cruises, no fast cars and no lavish lifestyle. The money was taken to fund a habit.”

He added that, as with many gamblers, Vickers was naively fooled into believing that one day he would be able to pay back the money.

Vickers, he said, has been receiving treatment for depression and stress and stopped gambling following his arrest.

Vickers, the court was told, set up an eBay trading account after leaving the club and this provided him with an income.

“He recognises and fully understands what he has done to the club that he loves. He acknowledges that. I ask you to take that apology he makes as genuine, ” said Mr Way.

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