Man embezzles money from shop to fund gambling addiction

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By Cara Sulieman

A MAN embezzled more than £5,000 from the shop he was in left in charge of by faking cashback transactions.

Richard Humphries, 32, put £50 cashback through the company’s system on credit card payments then pocketed the cash to feed his gambling addiction.

He managed to steal £5,500 before being caught by an auditor who became suspicious of the assistant manager.

Yesterday (Thurs) at Edinburgh Sheriff Court Humphries pled guilty to taking the money between August 10, 2009 and May 12 this year.

The court heard that Humphries had been using “phantom transactions” to hide the fact that the money was missing from the tills.

When customers paid by credit card at The Avenue Stores on Blackford Avenue, Edinburgh, Humphries would add £50 cashback on to the shops records.

As he was the one responsible for checking that the money in the tills matched the transactions, it wasn’t until an auditor was called in that the crime was spotted.

Depute fiscal Malcolm Stewart said: “Mr Humphries was in sole charge of checking all the money and card sales.

“The auditor became suspicious that he had been taking money from the business.

“Once he was interviewed by police there was a very full confession from him.

“He had a very bad gambling problem with debts of over £50,000”

The court heard that Humphries had racked up his debts on gambling site Betfair.

At the height of his problems he tried to commit suicide but is now trying to get his life back on track with the support of his family.

The court heard: “He attempted to take his own life but he is determined to right the wrongs he has made.

“What he has done since then is cancelled his Betfair account and is going to Gamblers Annoymous.

“Repayment has been made – a sum slightly in excess of the sum in the complaint has been made.

“His parents have been very supportive and helped out in financing that repayment.”

The court heard that Humphries’ parents had also bought the house he shares with his wife and would be renting it back to the couple – who are expecting their first child next March – while Humphries repays his existing debt.

With £25,000 still owed on credit cards and a further £30,000 to his parents, Sheriff Frank Crowe said that Humphries needed to concentrate on his future.

Deferring sentence until the end of the month for reports, he said: “This is a serious breach of trust.

“I think we owe it to his family to delve in to it a bit more and see if Mr Humphries can put his best foot forward from here.”

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