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Salesman jailed for defrauding dealership to fund addictions

A salesman for Lookers has been jailed for 12 months after defrauding a car dealership out of almost £40,000 to fund his gambling addiction.

Robin Campbell (38), of Hillhall Park, Lisburn, pleaded guilty to fraud by abusing his position in the Charles Hurst Group (part of the AM10 dealer group), reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Prosecution lawyer Joseph Murphy told Belfast Crown Court that Campbell had been taking deposits from Motability customers “when no desposits were required".

The Motability scheme enables disabled people to lease a new car in exchange for their government-funded mobility allowance.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland heard that Campbell was employed in Charles Hurst’s Citroen Motability section. He was told the fraud had been carried out for around a year up until November 2013 before it was detected.

Murphy said an internal audit revealed that around 48 customers had paid deposits totalling £37,751 which have should have gone to his employers.

“He told his manager about the fraud and said he had gambled the money and had no means to repay it,'' said Murphy.

However, he added that “what led to his confession is that he was aware that an audit was being carried out. He knew he would be found out and that is what prompted him to confess.''

The lawyer said Campbell would take deposits from customers involving sums ranging from £200 to £2,000.

“This defendant would insist on early deposits and in the main he would ask for cash deposits.

“He would then take these monies for his own personal use," said Murphy.

The Belfast Recorder heard that Campbell was later arrested and interviewed by police following the internal company audit. He told police that he confessed to a close friend in August 2013 about his fraudulent activity and was advised to tell his employers.

Defence barrister Kelly Doherty said that the father-of-three had turned to abusing alcohol following the breakdown of his marriage and then had used his customer's cash deposits to fund his gambling addiction.

Campbell was sentenced to 12 months with half to be spent in custody and the remainder on licence following his release from prison.

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