Gambling addict fleeced his girlfriend out of over £10,000 was been spared jail but he was ordered to compensate her.
Jonathan Richards, 35, withdrew money from his partner’s bank card and also took out credit cards in her name without her permission or knowledge.
Richards ran up bills amounting to thousands of pounds, which left the victim with high debt and also sending her credit score to plummet. Was heard at the Teesside Crown Court recently.
Richards applied successfully for two credit cards both in the name of his unaware girlfriend’s and spent £8,900 with them.
He made use of her card to withdrew amounts of between £50 and £450, he also transferred cash from her accounts to a payday loan company, during October to December 2014.
When he was confronted he admitted that he had taken the cash, however he claimed that he had paid it back. Stated the prosecutor Shaun Dryden.
The couple broke up in February 2015 two months after the last bank transactions.
Richards, who comes from High Church Wynd, Yarm, wrote to his ex girlfriend and confessed that he had a gambling problem and had applied for the cards in order to feed that addiction. But when arrested he in fact denied any wrongdoing and had claimed that his girlfriend was aware of his activities.
He also lied by saying that she had given him permission to withdraw the money and that she was sitting next to him when made application for the credit cards online.
Later he pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud, the court was also told that he had repaid £1,800.
His crimes led to his former partner’s credit score falling from excellent to poor, this affected her ability to obtain loans and a fixed rate mortgage.
Richards also had previous convictions which included stealing some of his sister’s belongings from her home and pawning them.
Defending Richards in court, Julian Gaskin, said that Richards had found himself in a “desperate state” and that he was spending money simply on food to eat. He has asked his defence to apologise for what he had done.
Mr Gaskin continued that Richards was disgusted and ashamed of his behaviour, and said he had accepted that it all stemmed from him being in denial about his gambling issue.
The court was told how a traumatic incident during 2011 led Richards to depression, that he attempted suicide twice as well as the gambling.
Mr Gaskin added that Richards was now attending Gamblers Anonymous, he lost his job but had obtained employment in London and is earning about £1,000 per week.
Judge Stephen Ashurst told Richards that there is obviously a degree of trust between partners but that he had broken that trust, continuing that Richards had defrauded her of a substantial amount of money which she could ill afford to lose, as a result to this action his ex girlfriend situation has been impacted badly on her, she now has a bad credit score which is preventing her to be able to move on with her life and that he was to blame for that.
The judge said that gambling is a very difficult addiction for people to break. However, Richards had admitted what he had done ultimately.
The judge said that he had considered prison for Richards, but that his co-operation with the police and that he is now in full employment were factors that he had considered and decided to ‘step back’.
Richards received a 15 month jail term suspended for a period of two years, and was ordered to pay £8,500 compensation with £400 costs.