£18,000 swim club fraudster avoids jail

A FRAUDER who ‘mistakenly’ transferred almost £18,500 from his local swimming club has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Manda ‘Mandy’ McKeown, was found guilty of fraud against Lisburn City Swimming Club just over a week ago.

When approached by Sunday Life about her sentencing, the fraudster slammed her front door in our reporter’s face and then, while hiding behind a curtain, falsely claimed she was not Amanda McKeown.

In previous hearings, the 51-year-old was said to have abused a position of trust she held at the Lisburn club by transferring £18,493 into her bank account in September 2019.

Her defense attorney previously claimed she had no intention of making a gain for herself, but simply made a mistake which she later corrected.

McKeown, of Spring Meadow, Maghaberry, pleaded not guilty to the single count of fraud against her, but was convicted, with the judge telling her she was lucky the case had not been referred to the Crown Court.

“All the money has been refunded, that’s why [the case stayed] among the magistrates [Court]. There is an act, but it was basically a mistake which she later rectified,” a lawyer told the court.

Described by the Lisburn City Swimming Club on Facebook in the past as their “fundraising supremo”, McKeown has worked on behalf of the club for almost a decade.

She has been involved in dozens of events as well as fundraising and organizing on behalf of the club.

A February 2020 post said she was by the pool collecting donations and contributions to the organization.

Five years earlier, she had been highly regarded for her help at the Antrim Open Swimming Championships.

In an article published online by Northern Ireland World, the club said: “Special mention to Mandy McKeown, who every year puts a big effort into fundraising at the event with the sale of voting tickets towards a basket , and this year’s gala printed T-shirts.”

Lisburn City Swimming Club have been contacted but declined to comment.