Gambling addict who stole £28,000 from JD Sports while working there avoids jail

A gambling addict who stole £28,000 from JD Sports while he worked there has swerved a prison sentence.

Siraj Mahmood, 26, told a court he was "terribly sorry" after stealing the money to fund his gambling on stocks and cryptocurrency.

The former staff member was working at the head office in Bury when his managers became aware of irregularities in the bank.

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Following an audit, they found Mahmood, of Bury, had stolen various amounts of money on 26 occasions, totalling £27,901.58.

When confronted Mahmood immediately admitted the offence, adding that he had already spent £4,500 of his own money to buy cryptocurrency.

The former customer care employee has since pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, and was handed a suspended sentence yesterday (Monday, August 22).

Prosecutor Laura Broome told Minshull Street Crown Court that Mahmood began working in the customer care department dealing with complaints at the head office in Bury in December 2019.

Managers noticed irregularities in the accounts towards the end of 2021 and an audit revealed that Mahmood had ‘fraudulently stolen the money’ for himself.

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Ms Broome said the 26 incidents occurred between June 2021 and October 2021, 19 of which were done by making false order numbers, and processed the refund to his personal account.

She added that on the seven other occasions Mahmood used legitimate order numbers to process unauthorised refunds to his bank account.

Mahmood was interviewed by his manager in which he admitted to adding ‘a few pence’ to the sums so it didn’t look ‘dodgy’.

Speaking from the dock, Mahmood said: “I genuinely am terribly sorry for the crimes I have committed.

“I apologise to my employer and to the court as well, and I believe going forward it’s a big learning curve for myself.”

Sentencing, Judge John Potter said that Mahmood was in a position where he could make refunds to customers if the complaints should merit it.

He said: “What you did over a period of time was to create 26 fictitious such refunds and transfer the amount you were refunding for 26 fictitious customers.

“Having created those fictions by fraud, you then put that money into your bank account.

"Over that time you were gambling on stocks and the value of cryptocurrency."

Mahmood, of Shortlands Avenue, Bury, was handed 18 months imprisonment which was suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 200 hours of unpaid work.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing was set for later this year.

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