Jail for gambling fraudster linked to firm’s collapse and job losses

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A gambling addict has been jailed for 16 months after his offending contributed to a Sowerby Bridge firm going into administration.

Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that it was the second time Balraj Kaler’s gambling habit had caused financial difficulties, but this time three people had lost their jobs as a result.

Kaler, 34, of Marcus Way, Mount, Huddersfield, admitted various offences of fraud relating to his position as a credit controller with ACP Coatings.

He also took thousands of pounds from his brother’s bank account.

Judge John Potter was told the total sum involved was almost £63,000.

Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said Kaler, who has a degree in business studies, had previously worked for another of his uncle’s firms and it was apparent that he had run up debts due to his gambling habit.

Mr Ritchie said Kaler had been diverting money from that company – but no action had been taken against him and family members paid for him to receive treatment at The Priory rehabilitation clinic.

He spent five weeks there but after going back to the company he was dismissed.

Mr Ritchie said by July 2010 Kaler’s uncle began to trust him again and got him a job at ACP Coatings but in October last year it was noticed that client payments were not appearing in the company accounts as expected.

The court heard how Kaler sent emails to two firms telling them to make payments into another account which he controlled and Mr Ritchie said throughout the period the defendant was gambling heavily.

Kaler also used other accounts to divert money from the company and Judge Potter said he had also “plundered’’ his brother’s bank account.

In a victim impact statement from Kaler’s uncle it was indicated that ACP Coatings had subsequently gone into administration with 14 people losing their jobs.

Mr Ritchie submitted that Kaler’s offending must have played a substantial part in the company going into administration.

But Kaler’s barrister Lisa Roberts said it had been a loss-making company and its debts were considerable more than the £60,000 which her client had taken.

Miss Roberts said separated Kaler, a father-of-one, was now virtually penniless and shunned by his community.

Judge John Potter said Kaler’s family had done everything they could to help him and he described the offending as sophisticated and professional.