Gambling addict who stole £230,000 from Brighouse firm is jailed

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A gambling addict who stole more than £230,000 from a Brighouse-based telecoms firm has been jailed for two years.

Bradford Crown Court heard how 23-year-old Joshua Walwyn abused his position of trust in the accounts department of Armytage Road business Abzorb to steal the money over a period of almost two years.

Prosecutor Dave Mackay told the court that Walwyn, of Forestdale Way, Wrose, Shipley, created false purchase orders and forged signatures on cheques which were paid into his own bank account.

“In total he stole £231,383.09 between January 2013 and October 2014,” said Mr Mackay.

Walwyn’s offending came to light in October last year when he was on leave and a number of blank cheque stubs were discovered.

The court heard that the theft of the money had a huge impact on the firm’s cash flow and also created an incorrect impression of its profitability.

Walwyn, who had no previous convictions, voluntarily attended at a police station a few days after he was suspended from his position and made full admissions about what he had done.

Mr Mackay said Walwyn told police that his online gambling had got out of hand and expressed remorse for the offending.

The court was told that the only money left was £8000 which Walwyn had recently won and Judge Neil Davey QC made an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act for that money to be confiscated and paid back to Abzorb as compensation.

Mr Mackay said that any further enforcement proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act would seek to recover more compensation for the company.

Barrister Mark Watterson, for Walwyn, said he had not sought to minimise the offending and he had made full admissions at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Watterson said Walwyn had got into difficulties with his gambling habit and was now seeking assistance from a counsellor who specialises in gambling issues.

“The defendant has steeled himself for an immediate custodial sentence if that is what the court hands down,” said Mr Watterson.

Judge Davey said when Walwyn started his employment with the company nobody would have thought that he would end up standing in the dock of a court.

“But you became addicted to gambling and in order to fund your addiction you stole from your employer again and again and again,” said Judge Davey.

The judge said the offending was aggravated by the fact that the company had not only lost the money, but it had affected the firm’s cash flow and profitability.

Judge Davey indicated that the starting point in the case was three years in prison, but Walwyn’s early guilty pleas to charges of theft and fraud meant the sentence would be reduced by a third to two years.