For too much love for gambling, an employee in Liverpool threatened the livelihood of his employer and his friend. As a manager, he stole cash from the business on several occasions, putting the company on the verge of shutting down.
Paul Hodges had a decent living. He worked for years at a Shell gas station, rising to become a manager in 2014. As such, he had access to the company’s money as part of his responsibilities for managing the books.
After years on the job, the temptation to use some of those funds for his own benefit proved to be too much. The Liverpool Echo reports that the 35-year-old began siphoning funds before ultimately stealing around £20,000 (US$24,108) before getting caught. Hodges has now appeared before a judge on charges of theft but got off with a light sentence.
From Manager to Thief
Hodges worked at the station for nine years, and began to pocket money he should have otherwise kept in the company safe. A routine accounting check by his area manager raised a red flag this past February, leading to a more thorough review of the money.
Upon opening the safe, the area manager discovered that two money bags, covering revenue from the two previous days, were not there. What he found was just £200 (US$241).
No one else could have been responsible for the theft, so the company called Hodges to find out what happened. However, what it received was silence, as the manager-turned-thief hung up the phone.
It didn’t take long for Hodges to show remorse. He called back and tried to apologize for what he had done. He even offered to return the money that he took during his five-day spree.
Hodges reportedly had gambling problems, which led to the repeated thefts. However, the only course of action the business could take was to report the incidents to the police, where Hodges made a full confession.
He admitted that the issue was larger than just the five-day span that landed him in trouble. He had been taking money and replacing it for years, and his antics landed him in front of a court judge to answer for his actions.
No Jail Time for Ruining a Business
In court, Keith Janion, the owner of the business, explained that Hodges’ thefts almost wiped out his business. At the very least, they put him in a “poor financial position. Where he once saw a friend, Janion could now only see a thief.
Hodges’ attorney, Kate Morley, tried to lean on the mercy of the court. She explained that her client was struggling because of his full-time job and his obligations at home.
He reportedly was the caregiver for his mother and four siblings, all of whom suffer from “serious or long-standing illnesses.” When his grandmother passed away, it all became too much, and he allegedly turned to gambling as an escape.
Morley added that jail time would put an undue hardship on the family and her pleas worked. The judge ultimately sentenced Hodges to 20 months in prison, but suspended 18 months. In addition, he will have to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and submit to rehabilitation.
Financial compensation is in store for Janion, as well, but only a fraction of what Hodges stole. The court ordered him to pay £5,000 (US$6,024) and never to contact his former friend again.
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