Bookie caught in false bets scam during Gold Cup in Cheltenham and Gloucester
GAMBLING on a dishonest scheme to get him out of financial trouble cost a bookmaker his job.
Investigators trapped bookie Paul Boswell when he paid out on a bet that was never made, a court heard.
Until he paid out a false £400 bet, Boswell had been creaming off small amounts he had added to legitimate customers' wagers at Coral betting shops in Cheltenham and Churchdown, Stroud Magistrates' Court was told yesterday.
But Coral bookmakers investigators discovered this and he admitted his deception.
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The court heard he had been using the computer system to amend the amounts wagered after the bet was placed.
This meant the winnings registered in the system were bigger than the amount given to the punters, and Boswell could pocket the difference.
The court heard he had been doing this over an almost four-month period earlier this year, which included Gold Cup week at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Boswell told police in an interview that he was struggling financially and believed Coral was going to assist with transport costs to branches in Bath Road and London Road in Cheltenham, as well as the one in Churchdown.
In all he took £1,009.60p between February 2 and May 25 this year, mainly through adding between £5 and £7 to bets after they had been paid out.
Graham Dono, prosecuting, said Boswell, of Holy Grove, Quedgeley, had worked for Coral for four to five years and was in a position of trust.
He committed the thefts mainly at the Cheltenham betting shops but also at the Churchdown branch, he said.
"He made a full and frank admission to Coral and to police," said Mr Dono.
"They were mainly small amounts but a last transaction of £400 clearly raised suspicions."
Leo Goatley, defending, said Boswell was of previous "exemplary" character and committed the offence because he was in financial trouble.
"He got in to financial difficulty and as a consequence he foolishly adopted a strategy of theft and breach of trust," said Mr Goatley.
"He was on a salary of £15,000 a year for a 30 hour week and he often worked 40 to 45 hours a week.
"He was told he would get travelling expenses because it turned out he was not just asked to work in the one shop but others.
"He did not have a petrol allowance.
"Since the break-up of his long term relationship he has had financial difficulties, not least with his car, for which he had a £700 bill.
"This is when he started increasing betting returns and taking the difference.
"He did this on numerous occasions."
Earlier Mr Dono explained that every employee, transaction and till has a unique number and the extent of Boswell's dishonesty was revealed quite easily.
Boswell pleaded guilty to theft by employee when he appeared before Stroud Magistrates' Court on Monday, and yesterday appeared for sentence.
An offer to repay the money was turned down by Coral, who alerted the police.
Coral subsequently made an application for the return of the money, which was granted.
Boswell was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.