Banned Stephen Lee fined for cue sale fraud to Hong Kong fan
Agence France-Presse in London
Banned British player Stephen Lee was fined on Monday after admitting fraud, having arranged to sell his cue to a fan in Hong Kong and never sending it.
Victim Marco Shek Fai-pak paid £1,600 (HK$21,000) into the bank account of Lee's wife after an agreement made on Facebook, but the former world number five continued to play with the cue and never sent it.
At a magistrates' court in Swindon, southwest England, Lee was fined £1,815 - which includes £1,600 in compensation to Shek - after admitting a charge of fraud by false representation.
Troubled Lee is subject to a 12-year ban from professional snooker after being found guilty of match and spot fixing in relation to seven matches from 2008 to 2009.
Last week, Lee was ordered to pay a total of £125,000 in costs after failing in his appeal to overturn the ban.
In the case heard yesterday, prosecutors said Lee told Shek he would get the cue modified before sending it, but took no such action.
After Shek complained to the police in January, Lee sent him an e-mail saying he would personally deliver it in Hong Kong if he dropped the charges.
However, Shek refused to do so.
Lee's lawyer Mark Glendenning said the 39-year-old had repeatedly apologised to Shek.
"Life took over. Mr Lee found himself embroiled in a number of difficulties, which have been much publicised in relation to his career and that took a great deal of his time and energy," Glendenning said. "He accepts in full he should have sent this cue, the difficulty being with his personal life impacting on his professional life."
Lee is not working and receives £133 a week in state welfare payments, the court heard. The fine will be deducted from this money on a weekly basis.
After the hearing, a message appeared on Lee's Facebook page. It said: "The guilty plead [sic] was honest as I took the money from a fan and I new [sic] that I had a plan to be out in hong kong [sic] in march [sic] to meet with him my self [sic] and hand the cue over and have a frame with him."
Lee has four children and has been battling weight for years, while trying to reduce his binge-drinking. He has won five ranking tournaments.