A MUM convicted of a ticket scam at Easter Road Stadium today claimed that both Hibs and Hearts had been targeted by matchday fraudsters for the last 20 years.
Judith Todd, who worked as a steward, alleged that a rogue mastermind was behind a string of long-running ticket cons which could have netted him £1 million over two decades.
The 38-year-old said that the scams routinely saw the fraudster and his fellow conspirators pocket up to £6000 from each home fixture involving the Edinburgh clubs.
Neither Hearts or Hibs were able to comment on the allegations.
Speaking after she escaped a jail sentence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, an emotional Todd said she was a “little fish who was caught because of the greed of the big fish”.
The mother-of-two from Penicuik said that she only agreed to take part in the scam while working on the turnstiles for security firm G4S on two matchdays at Easter Road in return for £1000 to help with financial difficulties.
The scam saw hundreds of tickets for a Hibs v Dundee United match from September 2011 stolen from the stadium.
The old tickets were then put into turnstiles during another SPL match days later. The equivalent value in cash, totalling £3800, was removed from the turnstiles’ cash bag.
It is understood that Hibs officials spotted the old tickets amongst the takings and set up an undercover operation to catch the fraudsters red-handed at the next match.
Todd was arrested after the same fraud was attempted at that SPL game, and handed back £1900 to police which she had put in her bank account.
Todd, who had worked part-time as a steward since attending university, said: “I was to keep £1000 and hand back £900 to the person who organised the scam. I knew that other frauds had been running for years involving this man. This wasn’t his usual scam. He would normally make £5000 to £6000 a game through methods he had used for 20 years involving season tickets and child concessions.
“He was away on holiday for these two games but he was so greedy he couldn’t resist ripping them off. I agreed to take part because I was skint. I’m a single mum and I needed the money for my daughters. I was a little fish who was caught because of the greed of the big fish.”
Todd said the fraudster – who can’t be named for legal reasons – built up an illegal fortune while working at Hibs and Hearts games but was not an employee of either club.
She added: “This person was trusted and able to manipulate the money which went up to the offices at Easter Road and Tynecastle.”
The court heard that Todd, a pharmacy technician, had suffered from depression before taking part in the scam, but she insisted that it was not a factor behind her involvement.
She said: “I fully put my hands up and accept my guilt for my part in this. I was in a desperate financial situation and £1000 would make a huge difference to me. I’m so sorry for what I did, but I don’t think it’s right that the man who has stolen so much money over the years has not been brought to court.”
Sheriff James Scott sentenced Todd to 250 hours of community service yesterday after she pleaded guily to fraud at a hearing last month.
A spokesman for G4S said: “This scam was uncovered due to the proactive investigation that was instigated by the club who were supported by G4S, and the police. We employ more than 20,000 people in our manned guarding business and the vast majority carry out their work with integrity and professionalism.”