Netball club rebounds from $150,000 scam

Less than three months after falling victim to a sophisticated fraud, the community is helping Tailem Bend Netball Club pay off its debts.

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Feeling hopeful are Jade Capes, Taylah Edwards, Leonie Capes, Meagan Abbott, Mel and Denise Edwards, Morna Young, Sophie Edwards and Elyssa-Kate Zadow. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Less than three months after falling victim to a sophisticated email scam, Tailem Bend Netball Club is on the way to paying off its debts.

The club was tricked out of $153,000 in April after receiving a legitimate invoice for an upgrade of its courts and lighting.

Soon afterwards, a second email came, giving them new bank account details for the contractors.

Someone had been monitoring the club’s email and social media accounts for weeks, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Just $13,000 was able to be recovered, and three local contractors were left in the lurch.

However, an amazing response from community members and local organisations has helped the club get back on its feet, financially speaking.

First the Coorong council came through with a $50,000, interest-free loan.

On Monday, Thomas Foods International agreed to make a $30,000 donation.

Add in about $65,000 the club had set aside for future upgrades, plus $7500 from a fundraising campaign, and the club should be able to pay off its contractors in the near future.

It’s not a perfect financial position, but it’s not bad considering how much was stolen.

Club president Denise Edwards said the community’s response had been amazing.

“Even people we don’t know are offering prizes for our raffle, donations, kind words,” she said.

“We’re getting emails from clubs and associations we've never heard of.”

Then came the phone call from TFI on Friday: “it’s just emotional, un-comprehend-able, the generosity”.

Thomas Foods’ Morna Young said the company had wanted to support the club.

“Sporting clubs are the lifeblood for regional communities,” she said.

“Chris (Thomas), Darren (Thomas) and the whole team at Thomas Foods are hoping that this donation can help the club to get back on its feet so it can continue to provide fantastic sporting opportunities for people right across the region.”

Scam aside, the courts at Tailem Bend are now some of the best in the River Murray association. Photo: Tailem Bend Netball Club/Facebook.

An expected insurance payout should help the club start to repay the council loan.

It will continue its fundraising campaign, too.

A highlight will be a trivia night to be held at Tailem Bend Town Hall on July 10.

  • More information about the trivia night: Call Mel on 0434 269 329 or Emily on 0413 796 590.

  • Donate: www.gofundme.com.