Steelers boss Scott Miles has admitted he fleeced the club of up to $1 million, in order to feed a secret gambling habit.
Court documents reveal the since-sacked GM began siphoning money from the club in 2010, after taking out more than 11 credit cards, two personal loans and a cash first loan in a failed bid to keep pace with his betting problem.
The missing funds were uncovered during a company audit in 2016 and Miles, 51, of Barden Ridge, was stood down earlier this year.
At Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday Miles pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
Police documents tendered to the court show Miles made full admissions and has expressed a willingness to repay the club that gave him a wage for 13 years.
He was hired as the Steelers’ gaming manager in 2004 and became general manager the following year, taking control of total club operations including finances, accounts, cash flows, banking and supervising staff and contractors responsible for financial matters.
During police interviews in February and May, he detailed how he used a company credit card to obtain the majority of the money.
A forensic audit carried out by the club revealed a total loss of $1,046,383.22, including $850,969.57 in credit charges in Miles’ name, and $195,413.65 in cash payments he had signed off on.
Miles told police he used the funds to fuel his gambling addiction. He altered reports that were presented to the board – one of numerous methods he used to mislead finance staff.
He told police his gambling had become a problem around 2008. He began using the company credit card – cash advances or online transfers – about two years later, when his debt grew and became impossible to manage.
He would repay the club sometimes, when his betting was successful.
He told police he began taking money from the club safe in about 2012/2013. It went towards gambling, rather than repaying debts.
When reconciling the cash payments for the club bank account, he would say that the money had been given to the St George Illawarra Dragons NRL side.
In cash payment forms, he also attributed some sums to at least two other board members, staff, members and players associated with the club and “payments made to placate a high-end gambling member of the club”.
Citing “loose governance” of club credit charges and cash payment forms, police have been unable to establish the true amount lost, but believe it to be between $800,000 and $1,000,000.
They believe Miles ultimately carried out hundreds of fraudulent transactions, for hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time.
The matter has been referred to Wollongong District Court on September 15, for the start of sentencing proceedings.