10/09/2012 :  TRUSTED OFFICE MANAGER STOLE TO FEED INTERNET GAMBLING HABIT
 
27-year-old scion of a family friend stole over GBP 10,000
 
William Richardson (27) of County Durham in the UK, was lucky to escape imprisonment this week at Teesside Crown Court, where Judge George Moorhouse punished him for stealing money from his employer to feed an online gambling habit.
 
Instead of sending him directly to jail, the judge imposed a suspended sentence of six months, and ordered the father-of-two to pay GBP 2,000 compensation and carry out 200 hours of community work.
 
Richardson, the trusted son of a family friend of his Darlington-based employer, left the firm where he was office manager in financial difficulty after he stole over GBP 10,000, the court heard.
 
Over nine months last year, he transferred company money into his own account for use on various internet betting sites, but was spared prison after a judge heard he was of “impeccable” previous character and had sought help for his gambling addiction.
 
His employer gave evidence that he had trusted Richardson implicitly, leaving him in full control, and even planning to eventually give him a partnership.
 
Judge Moorhouse told the accused: “This was a clear breach of trust. Your employer treated you as his own son.”
 
Prosecutor Jenny Haigh said that a total of GBP 10,662 was taken from the accounts between January and September last year.
 
“He was given an opportunity to pay the money back, but none has been forthcoming,” she said.
 
The fraud was detected when Richardson's employer heard reports that his office manager was spending a lot of money, and closely scrutinised the company finances.