A bank manager who stole more than £400,000 from an elderly doctor to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed for two years and eight months.
Sentencing Paul Buck, 36, at Preston Crown Court, Judge Stuart Baker said; “No right-thinking member of the community, other than those who of course support you and who’s views are coloured by affection for you, could seriously think taking money on this scale with this criminality from such an elderly man could merit anything other than immediate custody.”
Buck, pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining money by deception and 13 of fraud after swindling cheques from a 91-year-old called Dr Peter Wren, who was paying him to invest the cash.
The court heard although Buck had at first helped the doctor make a profit, he then began paying the cheques into his own bank account using it to pay off credit card debt wracked up by internet gambling.
The married father-of-three, who started working for Santander in 2001, was working as a financial advisor at the time the offences started in 2005 but was promoted to a regional manager in 2006.
The court heard that he would usually gamble anywhere between £100 and £300 a time but on one occasion he bet £10,000 on a horse. The court heard that an other occasion he won £15,000 after gambling £3,000 and was back in arrears the following day.
The court heard that before he confessed he had failed in an attempted suicide bid.
Prosecuting, Brett Gerrity, revealed Buck had realised he had a problem after reading about the unexpected death of footballer Gary Speed in November, after which it was wrongly claimed he had a gambling addiction.
After confessing to his wife and family the court heard he visited Dr Wren’s home in Whittle-le-Woods on December 8 and told his elderly wife what he had done. He was arrested the following day after informing his bosses. Mr Gerrity said; “Tragically Dr. Wren passed away on December 18, 2011. Mrs Wren, who is a similar age, was unaware of what was happening with the finances.”
The court heard Mrs Wren, a devout Roman Catholic, expressed sympathy and compassion when learning he had tried to take his own life.
Defending, Reginald Mills said Buck believed he had swindled around £80,000 but it was in fact £434,000. Buck earned £57,000 a year in his managerial role at the bank.
Mr Mills said Buck, of Langham Road, Standish, Wigan, and his wife and their three children could stand to lose their family home. Judge Baker said; “it involved a persistent breach of trust.”