London, June 13 (IANS) Former English county cricketer Andy Hayhurst, who stole more than $1,55,600 meant for young players, has been jailed for two years.
According to the Manchester Crown Court, 52-year-old Hayhurst spent the money in lavish restaurants and on luxury holidays.
The ex-Lancashire, Somerset and Derbyshire all-rounder admitted to the fraud while working as a $77,800-a-year Lancashire Cricket Board director.
Sentencing him, Judge John Potter said it was a “spectacular fall from grace”.
The cricketer embarked on “a career of serial dishonesty inspired by greed” when he plundered money from the Lancashire Cricket Board (LCB) and the Lancashire Youth Cricket Charitable Trust earmarked for developing youth cricket, said the judge.
“Your acts had the potential to provide young people with the opportunity to play and enjoy cricket. Opportunities from which you benefited throughout your life and sporting career,” the judge was quoted as saying by bbc.com on Saturday.
While playing part time for Worsley Cricket Club, where he had started his career as a youngster, Hayhurst used headed paper to submit fake invoices to the LCB asking for money for coaching.
He then took the board’s cheques – for up to $15,560 a time – to the club’s treasurer saying the money was intended for the junior players and the rest was due to be paid to other local clubs.
When a blank cheque was handed to him from Worsley Cricket Club, he banked the cash for himself, Manchester Minshull St. Crown Court heard.
In 20 incidents between August 2006 and July 2013, Hayhurst pocketed $1,67,344 which he used to pay for lavish meals in restaurants and family holidays, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard.
Hayhurst pleaded guilty to fraud, theft, and obtaining property by deception, false accounting and concealing criminal property.