An investor who made threatening phone calls to a former director of East Fife FC after losing £30,000 during a takeover bid for the club has today (Wednesday) been admonished.
Ty Brown gave Brian McNeill - a former director and physio at The Fifers - the money, inherited from his mother, as McNeill led a £600,000 consortium bidding to buy the League One club in 2013.
McNeill later resigned from the board in 2014 - with Brown spending two years trying to find out when the shares he thought he had bought would be handed over.
However, he could not get hold of McNeill and in August 2015 he snapped - and made a series of threatening ‘phone calls to McNeill, leaving angry voicemails at his home in Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
His lawyer said the 31-year-old mechanic had made complaints to police claiming to have been defrauded by McNeill and that he was now seeking a “civil remedy” to get his cash back.
A sheriff told him: “This was a fairly desperate and unintelligent approach to resolving the situation.”
Fiscal depute Muhammad Sadiq told Dundee Sheriff Court: “The accused and complainer are known to each other.
“In May 2013 they entered a business deal after money was received by the accused as an inheritance following the death of his mother.
“After the money was paid to the complainer he made attempts to inquire about the business but was unable to get hold of the complainer.
“It went on for some time and he began to make telephone calls to trace him.
“On the date in question he made some 14 calls leaving a number of voicemail messages of a threatening nature.
“The messages were received by the wife of the complainer and they were reported by police.”
Brown, 31, of Clermiston Grove, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge of stalking Mr and Mrs McNeil on August 11 last year.
Solicitor advocate Jack Brown, defending, said: “Each and every call relates to the return of monies borne out of this business arrangement he had believed he entered into with the complainer.
“The background is he had been introduced to the complainer - then a director of East Fife FC - and discussions had taken place in 2013 and 2014 regarding the takeover of that club by a consortium he understood to be headed up by McNeill.
“He paid over a total of £30,000 in return for shares in that company.
“For a significant period of time he sought to contact and did indeed contact Mr McNeill but found himself essentially being fobbed off as to when the shares were to be delivered and when the takeover was to progress.
“He sought legal advice and took a report to Police Scotland to see if he had been victim of a fraud perpetrated on him.
“The complainer’s wife said there had been an agreement to pay the money back but it hasn’t been.
“I have now been instructed to see if there is a civil remedy to this.
“By August 2015 matters had really come to a head from his point of view.
“It was money he had inherited from his late mother and things boiled over from his point of view and events developed into this extremely unpleasant series of phone calls.
“It is an unhappy incident in which he has lost a lot of money.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael admonished Brown - meaning a conviction has been placed on his record but no punishment will be imposed.