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Landlord Duped in £28,400 Rental Scam by Football Executive

In a shocking revelation, Zola McGoldrick, 50, a director of the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) and also known by the name Zola Affley, has been convicted of orchestrating a complex fraud scheme, duping her landlord out of £28,438 in unpaid rent. The elaborate ruse unfolded between September 2018 and May 2020, during which McGoldrick deceived her landlord with a fabricated story of being ensnared in an international money-laundering debacle.

McGoldrick rented a three-bedroom flat from Roderick Glen, but when it came time to settle the rent, she spun a tale of her bank accounts being inaccessible due to them being frozen, supporting her claims with counterfeit letters from RBS, Lloyds, and HMRC to add credence to her story.

Despite her denial of the allegations during a two-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, McGoldrick was found guilty, as reported by the Edinburgh Evening News. She has been released on bail, with sentencing set for the following month.

Roderick Glen recounted to the court how he and his wife, owners of the ground floor flat located in Marchmont, had agreed to a monthly rent of £1,500. McGoldrick and her family took residence in the flat even before making any deposit. When the agreed-upon sum failed to materialise in his account, Glen received “a complicated explanation” from McGoldrick, who is an Australian national.

Despite the initial non-payment, Glen permitted McGoldrick and her family to continue residing in the property, holding onto the hope that the rent would eventually be paid. However, not a single payment was made. After conducting his own online investigation into McGoldrick, Glen uncovered the unsettling truth — he had been swindled, and the documents purportedly from RBS, Lloyds, and HMRC were nothing but forgeries.

Glen’s investigation further revealed that McGoldrick had previously faced a housing tribunal, brought forward by a former landlady for similar rent non-payment issues. In a further twist, McGoldrick was declared bankrupt in March 2020 and subsequently evicted from the flat.

While McGoldrick, the SWPL director, chose not to present any evidence, the court viewed two brief segments from her police interview. In these clips, she asserted she “did not deliberately” intend to defraud her landlord. Following these events and her conviction, McGoldrick has stepped down from her role at the football league. This case has cast a spotlight on the vulnerabilities landlords face, even when the tenants hold reputable positions.