Ex-tennis pro jailed for 80 months

| 30/04/2019 | 71 Comments
Cayman News Service

Robert Todd Seward

(CNS): Robert Todd Seward (48), the former general manager and tennis pro at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club, was handed six years and eight months in prison by a Grand Court judge, who described his conviction for theft as a “grave breach of trust”. Seward had admitted several counts of theft totalling around $280,000, and although some of the money was paid back and some found to have been used for legitimate purposes, for almost three years he was forging his colleague’s signature or using pre-signed blank cheques to take tens of thousands of dollars in cash for himself.

The former tennis boss had been at the club for more than nine years when in January 2018 he was arrested after the tennis club’s treasurer had come across some suspicious transactions. It was then discovered that Seward had been taking cash from the club for almost three years before he was caught.

Earlier this month Seward admitted five counts of theft, three of forgery, one count of concealing criminal property and one count of converting criminal property relating to a Jeep Wrangler he bought himself using the club’s money. He then handed himself in to begin serving what he knew was the inevitable substantial jail term he would receive.

The court heard that Seward was able to steal as much as he did for as long as he did without detection because he was “highly trusted” by the club. Although the treasurer and the president were each co-signatures with Seward on one of the two tennis club bank accounts, Seward had forged signatures or used pre-signed blank cheques to take cash from both accounts.

While the tennis professional claimed to have started this for legitimate reasons because he needed to get cash to pay staff or bills and was not always able to track down the president or treasurer, it was not long before he began taking more than he needed for legitimate expenses.

As the accounts got increasingly out of hand, Seward claimed he lost control of what he had taken and therefore owed the club, as he continued to take cash from the club’s two accounts for himself and his own expenses as well as the club’s bills.

As Justice Michael Woods handed down the various sentences for all of the different offences, he reduced the time on each by one third to account for Seward’s admissions.

But giving consideration to the total of the sentences he faced, with the longest being for four years and eight months and the shortest two years, the judge ordered all of the sentences to be concurrent except for one. Justice Woods said he was particularity troubled by one of the forgery charges where Seward had forged the signature of the club treasurer on seven withdrawal slips, enabling him to steal over $41,000 between 28 November 2017 and 9 January 2018 — just before his arrest.

As a result, the judge said that the two-year sentence for that particular offence should be served consecutively, with the rest of the terms concurrent, and arriving at a final sentence of six years and eight months.

Seward, who is a permanent resident, has paid back some of the cash he had originally stolen, and since his arrest the authorities have frozen around CI$17,000 of his assets. A compensation hearing is expected to take place later this year to enable the crown to take that cash under the proceeds of crime law.

The court also heard that Seward was expecting that his residency would be revoked once he has served his time and as a result he was expecting to leave Cayman on release from jail.

Tags: , ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If a tennis club can lose 280k and still exist, then they certainly proof they want only the elite to become a member.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the best sort of club. One joins decent clubs knowing one can escape from the “ordinary folks”, who are just so dull and appalling.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a teacher, I can assure you that I am not part of the “elite”! The membership fees for the tennis club are very comparable to those of a gym. You can check that by going on their website.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    #freeLOBOBOBO

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I guess its Game Set and Match

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  4. Anonymous says:

    #freebouchard!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Steal $250k and get 80 months. Run over and kill a Doctor/human and get nothing

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  6. Anonymous says:

    too drastic….in my opinion but that is what happens when greed takes over. I hope all those with the stealing habit will see that it does not pay off.

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  7. WhaYaSay! says:

    Game, Set and MATCH!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    you cannot be serious!

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  9. Say it like it is says:

    Rob certainly lived up to his name. This disgusting man deserves every day of his sentence. I assume the club sacked the “Treasurer”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The president & treasurer are appointed annually at the members meeting, by vote. They are volunteer positions & not paid jobs.
      Rob was in a paid position doing the book keeping.
      I agree however that the treasurer / president should have known better than to sign blank cheques. Pointless having dual signatories if you sign a blank cheque.
      Note however that Rob also forged signatures. Hard to stop someone intent on stealing funds.
      The treasurer is a qualified accountant who should have picked up the fraud,if he had properly checked the book keeping. It was picked up by a bank checking the signatures

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This is all small potatoes in comparison to the tens/hundreds of millions in procurement negotiations and political side deals we aren’t supervising without enactment of Standards in Public Life Law. The Governor should be asked why it isn’t in the UK’s interest to implement the “good governance” policy required by our Constitution. Does the public need to file a class action against the FCO?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    …or an unrepentant and grotesque politician with an alarmingly irreconcilable high-roller gambling addiction can extend himself a further gaming advance beyond his personal means using the available credit margin on a public funds credit card, leave it to hang at our interest expense, and pretend it was all his assistant’s fault once caught/exposed. Same politician can then go on to segregate $10mln of our money from public procurement oversight and dispense it like a personal cookie jar for favors. Or broker a real estate deal to liquidate a parcel of crown land and take a commission! When it comes to grand scale theft, we are blind.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    There doesn’t seem to be any kind of level playing field in these cases. If we take this Seward case as being sentenced about right, then as per several posts below we have a lot of differences. Compare another: Patricia Glasgow, (Caymanian) who worked in a small financial services firm and stole a similar sum to Seward from a client’s account. She was also in a position of trust, being the person in charge of the account, but went further to pay off her mortgage with the money, then gifted her house to her brother to protect the ill-gotten gains when she knew she was going to Court. She got 3 years as I recall and no doubt was out within 18 months! SMH

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    • Anonymous says:

      The owner of a travel agency was found not guilty of obtaining property by deception from 12 customers between December 2014 and March 2015. They called her a poor businesswoman, but “she was not dishonest”. Ponzi schemes is crime. But obviously not for Caymanians.
      Double standards.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup something rotten going on here. But some of the judges are visiting judges. How are they socialized to the nuances of Expat v Cayman?

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  13. ksdnfksjdnf says:

    Rob Aspinall got off lightly – someone below says it is because he admitted everything at the first opportunity – He admitted everything AFTER HE WAS CAUGHT. If he was not caught he would have continued living in his Patrick’s Island home and driving his BMW, bought with the stolen cash.

    He was a professional director with fiduciary duties to investors, earning hundreds of thousands per year. He had no reason to steal. I believe he is now back in the UK and starting his own fitness business.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Mostly just saw the underage sneak a few bevy’s every now and then

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is the world’s corruption capital.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    He certainly NETTED a lot of money, according to the COURT. Quite the RACKET he had going on. He certainly had lots of BALLS.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Ain’t no strawberries and cream where he’s goin.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I suppose you haven’t visited HM Northward Guesthouse?
      You’d be surprised about what the kitchen serves!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Rob was always good for a round at the bar after a lesson. Hopefully he gets back to teaching after this pause in life because he was good!

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Rob, do your time and know that you have support to move on from this mistake.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Aspinall got off lightly.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Only slightly less than Canover who stole millions…and Canover was out in like 2 years….too bad you weren’t a YCLA winner.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And a lot more than the Englishman who stole from the development he was stealing from and got a slap on the wrist for “deception” , now living large on the governor’s cocktail party circuit .

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Why no deportation order!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Game, set and match.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    I cannot understand how the taxi driver who killed a doctor as a result of his own careless actions is given NO jail time. I’m honestly confused! What am I missing here?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You answered your own question. One person was careless, albeit with terrible consequences, whilst the other deliberately plotted and carried out a massive theft of money.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So why no jail time? My question is not answered…they are both at fault for their crimes and should be punished. It wasn’t an “accident” it was a result of carelessness and he should be punished with jail time…he took a life! I’m suggesting jail time as punishment for the crime and the impact it has had, not jail time based on motive or intent.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure the doctor’s family is comforted by your remarks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That was an accident. This man purposefully stole. Huge difference in intent.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    The honour bar was always going to end badly.

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