Updated with Sentence: Head Golf Professional guilty of stealing more than £100,000 from Winchester Golf Club
Originally published 23/6/2022
Steven Hunter was sentenced today (28 July 2022) at Salisbury Crown Court.
He was jailed for five years.
Elizabeth Medland, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “This was an astonishing case of fraud with eye-watering figures diverted by Steven Hunter for his own financial gain.
“We hope that the Golf Club and its members will feel that justice has been delivered today.”
The Head Golf Professional at the Royal Winchester Golf Club has been found guilty of fraud after he under-reported the value of green fees paid by visitors to the club over a five-year period.
Steven Hunter, aged 54 and from Abbots Worthy, was found guilty of two counts of fraud, false accounting and of cheating Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of public revenue by a jury at Salisbury Crown Court today (23 June 2022).
Hunter was trusted by the club to take green fee payments from visitors to the club at his onsite professional golf shop, but he vastly under-reported the takings and kept the difference for himself.
It was only when the club manager reviewed the figures for income from visitors’ fees that the scale of Hunter’s fraudulent behaviour was discovered. He was consistently claiming that the income was only a third of what it should have been, using the rest of the money to fund his lifestyle.
He also pocketed money that had been donated at two charity golf days, organised in memory of Les Day, a long-standing member of the golf club who had sadly passed away. Instead of ensuring the donations were paid to Canine Partners charity, Hunter kept approximately £11,000 for himself.
Hunter was also found guilty of false accounting having diverted takings from his professional golf shop to his personal bank account instead of his business account so that he would avoid having to pay tax. He further cheated the public revenue by failing to declare retainer payments and VAT payments to HMRC.
Elizabeth Medland, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “This case involved a thorough and complex investigation, with the review of a vast number of financial records and evidence from financial experts to trace the money Hunter had fraudulently taken.
“His deception has not only caused the golf club financial loss, but has also prevented a charity from receiving the benefit of very generous donations made in memory of a man who meant a lot to the club and its patrons.”
Notes to editors
- Steven Hunter DOB: 18/12/1967
- Count 1: Fraud by abuse of position – funds taken from the Royal Winchester Golf Club totalled £109,375
- Count 2: Fraud by false representation – money that should have been donated to charity totalled £11,096.85
- Count 3: False accounting – caused losses of £343,449 to his own company to pay less tax and ultimately to put the company into insolvency
- Count 4: Cheating the public revenue – cheated the public purse of £105,857.54 by underpaying tax and national insurance.