Lettings manager Robert Parker is starting a 38-month jail sentence for stealing more than £300,000 cash spent on his addiction to gambling.
Parker. 28, was fuelling his greedy habit paying online bookies up to £50,000 by syphoning money away from the letting agent bank accounts.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that Parker worked for Nina Letting agency, Broad Street, Barry, South Wales, for six years.
In that time he was promoted to lettings manager in charge of an office managing 300 properties for landlords and handed access to the agency’s bank accounts.
In 2012, agency owner Nina Chivers asked her accountants to investigate why the business seemed less profitable than expected. They reported no problems, but HM Revenue & Customs found issues with the accounts and demanded £200,000 in tax on money that was missing.
New accountants were instructed and they uncovered Parker’s trail of theft.
Parker was caught on CCTV kissing a pile of stolen cash and taking money from tenants as rent but failing to enter the amounts in the accounting system.
Chivers challenged Parker about the discrepancies and called the police.
An investigation revealed that Parker had a life as a high-roller, spending huge amounts on gambling, foreign holidays and fine dining, often boasting of winnings running into thousands of pounds.
He won no sympathy from Judge Niclas Parry said he had committed the offence out of “greed and his gambling addiction” and added he was astounded that accountants failed to find something wrong.
Parker, who admitted the theft, is estimated to have taken £302,000 from the letting agents.
Chivers read a tearful statement to the court, explaining she had known Parker since he was 14 and stood in as a second mum. She also disagreed with how much had been stolen, putting the amount at around £600,000.