Age UK worker stole from disabled man to pay off gambling addiction
Nichol, S. (2014). Age UK worker, who stole from disabled man to pay off gambling addiction, spared jail. Available: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/age-uk-worker-who-stole-8325783. Last accessed 23rd Dec 2014.
Mark Roberts, of North Shields, admitted three counts of fraud and two counts of theft in North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court. Mark Roberts was working as an advisor at Age UK when he targeted the vulnerable man, who is in a wheelchair and who suffers from mobility problems and has diabetes, and stole £1038.25 from him.
The 40-year-old admitted fraud to the tune of £1038.25 by bank transfer, withdrawing £230 cash, a further transfer of £1088.31, all from his victim. He also admitted stealing £320 cash from Age UK North Tyneside. Roberts, of Falstaff Road, North Shields, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and two counts of theft totalling £2,676.56 when he appeared in North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court. He was warned by he was facing prison when his case was adjourned for sentencing. But Roberts has escaped a stint behind bars, instead being given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work.
Justin Gibson, prosecuting, told the court Roberts befriended the man while he was working for Age UK North Tyneside earlier this year. He said: “In April this year, the defendant visited the man and stated to him that Age UK were having a cash flow problem and asked if he would be prepared to loan him £100 so a carer could be paid.
“The man agreed to do this and gave the defendant his Virgin bankcard and pin number.
“He took them and said he would return it in a day.”
Mr Gibson told the court how the man became aware of unexplained transactions totalling £1038.25, when he asked Roberts about the money he admitted he had taken it.
He added: “He agreed to pay it back but so far has repaid just £380.”
In a victim personal statement, the man said: “I feel drained by what he’s done. It’s a kick in the guts.
“I have suffered extra worry about money because of this and my health has suffered. I would like to see him punished by means of a jail sentence to teach him a lesson.”
From May 2 to 13 the victim said there were unexplained transactions worth £1088.31 from his Gold Plus account but his carer is paid £430 in wages.
Age UK North Tyneside reported a discrepancy of £320 from the payroll which Roberts later admitted.
Roberts worked for Age UK for three years before his dismissal.
Jeff Smith, mitigating, said Roberts’s life had spiralled out of control after the break-up of his marriage and his increasing gambling addiction.
He said: “His world collapsed around him and, against that background, he behaved in a manner, which was entirely unacceptable”
Mr Smith said Roberts, who had got another job since but was sacked when his employer saw the story of what he had done in the Chronicle, used some of the money to pay off his gambling debts.