An appeal court has shortened the prison sentence of a man found guilty of stealing money from a junior team affiliated with Helsinki’s football club HJK.
Between 2011 and 2012 the man, who had a role as a team manager, altered the name on one of the team’s bank accounts to that of a woman involved with the team. The pair them withdrew more than 10,000 euros from the team’s bank account. The bulk of the money had come from the players and their parents.
A district court had previously sentenced the man to one year in prison. However the appellate court reduced the sentence to five months for embezzlement and forgery. The Helsinki District said in its ruling that the embezzlement of 10,000 euros did not constitute an aggravated crime.
Back in 2015, the appeal court had handed down a suspended prison sentence of six months for the woman, following her conviction in charges of forgery and aggravated embezzlement.
Junior team manager committed other offences
The duo argued that they committed the offences because they feared distraint proceedings. The court argued that their actions had been premeditated and that it continued over several months.
In preparation for the crime, the accomplices had cooked up false documents and attempted to cover their tracks by closing the account. The court also noted that the man held a position of responsibility and that the stolen funds was to be used for a children’s hobby, which made the offence especially reprehensible.
In the end, it was the man’s criminal past that led to a prison sentence. The man had four enforceable prison sentences and was still serving them up to July this year.
The appeal court had already ruled on the case in 2015, but the matter was returned to the higher court.