A Scottish League footballer is among four Angus men to have appeared in court over an alleged £16,000 betting scam.
Former Arbroath forward Kane Hester is charged with forming a fraudulent scheme with three co-accused to receive a booking during a League Cup game between his current club Elgin City and Hibernian last July.
Prosecutors say this led to a £16,000 payout by online gambling firm Bet365.
The accused men are all from Montrose and appeared on petition, privately and separately, before Sheriff Gregor Murray at Forfar Sheriff Court on Thursday.
Hester, 24, Brodie Myers, 26, Calvin Parrott, 24, and Findlay Soutar, 23, face a charge of obtaining money through the formation of a fraudulent scheme.
The petition alleges the scheme involved placing bets on Hester receiving a booking from the referee during the cup game at Elgin’s Borough Briggs Stadium on July 26 last year.
Prosecutors say between July 25 and August 2, the men agreed the footballer would purposely commit a foul, placed three separate bets on him receiving a booking and that Hester received a booking by stamping on the calf of an opponent.
The petition alleges the yellow card Hester received led to a payout of approximately £16,000 in winnings from Bet365, which was obtained by fraud.
An alternative charge on the petition under the Gambling Act 2005 alleges the four accused cheated at gambling between July 25 and August 2 last year by placing three separate bets Hester would receive a booking and that the player intentionally stamped on the calf of a rival player, resulting in the five-figure winnings being paid out.
All four accused made no plea or declaration and were committed for further examination.
They were each granted bail by Sheriff Murray.
A further court date has not been set.
The Edinburgh club won the July 2019 cup tie 2-0 through goals by Joe Newell and Florian Kamberi.
Centre forward Hester joined Elgin City in January 2019 on a contract due to run to 2022.
He has made a total of 30 appearances for the club in League Two and cup competition this season, the last in the 3-2 home defeat to Stenhousemuir on Saturday.
He previously played more than 60 games for Arbroath.
Persons convicted of offences under the section of the Gambling Act the accused have appeared on can face a maximum prison sentence of two years on indictment, or 51 weeks at summary level.