Agent who de­frauded Olympic star is jailed

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

THE FOR­MER man­ager of Olympic gold medal­list Greg Ruther­ford has been jailed for 18 months for swin­dling the long-jumper out of more than £48,000 to fund his gam­bling ad­dic­tion.

Gaby Stone, 34, pock­eted spon­sor­ship and ap­pear­ance fees from the Lon­don 2012 hero and for­mer Strictly Come Danc­ing con­tes­tant to feed his habit be­tween 2014 and 2015.

Stone was the sole di­rec­tor and com­pany sec­re­tary of GSE Man­age­ment and looked af­ter Mr Ruther­ford’s com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties.

But he gam­bled away tens of thou­sands of pounds of the Olympian’s earn­ings from live ap­pear­ances and en­dorse­ments.

Ju­lia Flana­gan, de­fend­ing, told Black­fri­ars Crown Court that Stone “sim­ply wants to say re­peat­edly to the court he is very sorry that he did this and he hopes the up­set to Mr Ruther­ford is some­thing he will move on from.”

But in a vic­tim im­pact state­ment read to the court Mr Ruther­ford, 30, said: “The thought that some­one who had been re­spon­si­ble for a large part of my life and some­one I had put my trust in to han­dle a ma­jor source of my in­come had been dis­hon­est has left me feel­ing sick.”

Stone, of Edg­ware Road, cen­tral Lon­don, ad­mit­ted fraud by abuse of po­si­tion.

The court heard that Stone’s friends and fam­ily re­paid the Mil­ton Key­nes­born ath­lete in full as Stone sought help to stop gam­bling

He is the son of Susy Stone, head­teacher of Akiva pri­mary school in Finch­ley. Mr Ruther­ford and an­other of Stone’s clients, gym­nast Louis Smith, pre­vi­ously vis­ited the school.

His fa­ther is Maurice Stone, com­pany sec­re­tary of the UJIA and founder of the Is­rael Folk Dance As­so­ci­a­tion and the dance group Oranim. His brother Danny, is sec­re­tary of the par­lia­men­tary All-Party Group against An­ti­semitism and was made an MBE in the New Year Hon­ours.

Pass­ing sen­tence, Judge John Hillen told Stone: “One of your clients was the Olympic longjumper Greg Ruther­ford.

“You and

Gaby Stone Vic­tim Greg Ruther­ford: the Olympian said he was sick­ened by the fraud

he had a writ­ten con­tract which was that you should keep 20 per cent of the gross in­come which you gen­er­ated for him and he the re­main­ing 80 per cent.”

The court heard that when Mr Ruther­ford met Stone to dis­cuss his fi­nances in March 2015, Stone told him he had lost tens of thou­sands of pounds in a “bad in­vest­ment”. Judge Hillen said: ‘You lied to him be­cause what you were do­ing was to re­peat­edly be­tray the trust that he had placed in you by let­ting your fi­nances get into such a state that you were spend­ing money on gam­bling that should have been part of your busi­ness.” When the Olympic, World, Euro­pean and Com­mon­wealth cham­pion in­structed his ac­coun­tants to as­sess how much he had lost, the judge said Stone “con­fessed to him that the money had ac­tu­ally been lost as a re­sult of your gam­bling ad­dic­tion”. Mr Ruther­ford then sacked Stone and pressed charges af­ter re­peated at­tempts to get re­pay­ments failed. Judge Hillen said de­spite Stone’s “plain guilt” he made no com­ment dur­ing two po­lice in­ter­views and later de­nied the charges.

“It’s only as a re­sult of this pros­e­cu­tion that friends and fam­ily have ral­lied round to give you the money to re­pay Mr Ruther­ford,” he said.

“The de­lay to which your coun­sel re­ferred is en­tirely down to you.”



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