Thieving golf club treasurer avoids jail

Barry Miller. Picture: Alexander Lawrie

Barry Miller. Picture: Alexander Lawrie

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A CROOKED financial adviser who embezzled thousands of pounds from a prestigious golf club has escaped a jail sentence.

Barry Miller was treasurer at the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club when more than £10,000 went missing from the club’s accounts four years ago.

Miller, 36, had claimed he had invested the vast amounts of cash in a bid to turn a profit for the club.

But during his trial the “financial wizard”, who worked with HSBC at the time, could provide no proof he was ever authorised to do so, or prove where the money actually went.

Miller was also slammed by a sheriff for lying during his trial after he claimed his father was looking after £11,500 of the investment’s proceeds which would be paid back to the club.

But during a subsequent court appearance Miller then told Sheriff Kevin Drummond that he had given “inaccurate information” regarding the cash and that no money was being held by his father.

Sheriff Drummond yesterday described Miller, from East Pilton Farm Avenue, as “something of a fantasist” as he sentenced him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

Miller had previously been found guilty of embezzling £11,000 while treasurer at the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, near Prestonpans, between June 1 and November 8, 2011 following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The court had previously heard Miller took over as treasurer at the historic non-profit golf club in April 2011 and had “casual” conversations with committee members about investing club funds.

But after six months it became apparent to committee members that the club’s accounts were in the red and that around £4000 in cash was missing from the golf club’s safe.

Club captain Arthur Reid said Miller had informed him he had made around “20 investments” in the name of the Royal Musselburgh club and all the maturities would be paid into his own account and he would then transfer it into the golf club’s account.

But after several discussions with the club’s bank manager, Mr Reid said it had become apparent “there had been no investments”.

Miller represented himself, refused to give evidence to the court and did not call any defence witnesses.

In sentencing, Sheriff Drummond said: “Over the course of four days I had the clearest possible evidence that Barry Miller had applied club funds of £11,000 to his own ends.

“Mr Miller’s conduct throughout the trial led me to believe he was something of a fantasist.”

The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club is the fifth oldest in the world.

newsen@edinburghnews.com