A bank manager who stole more than £400,000 from a 91-year-old Chorley man to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed.
Preston Crown Court heard that Paul Buck, 36, systematically stole the cash from a client, elderly former doctor Peter Wren, from Whittle-le-Woods, who has since died.
Buck pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining money by deception and 13 of fraud after swindling cheques from his victim, who was paying him to invest the cash.
The court heard although Buck, who was based at a Santander branch in Preston, 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 racked up by internet gambling.
He had once gambled £10,000 on a horse race.
Sentencing him, 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, of Langham Road, Standish, Wigan, was jailed for two years and eight months.
He had started working for Santander in 2001, working as a financial advisor at the time the offences started but was promoted to a regional manager.
Prosecuting, Brett Gerrity, revealed Buck had realised he had a problem after reading about the death of footballer Gary Speed.
After confessing to his wife and family the court heard he visited Dr Wren’s home on December 8 and told his elderly wife what he had done. He was arrested the following day after also telling 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. They were dealt with by Dr. Wren.”
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 had “succumbed to temptation” after Dr.Wren began handing him cheques in his own (Buck’s) name and said he was currently in £43,000 debt.
Judge Baker said it involved a ‘persistent breach of trust’.
He added; “You were not taking the bank’s money you were taking his. Your attempt to conceal what you had done adds another level of seriousness to the case.
“You have ruined your good name, you have blighted your future and perhaps most sadly of all you have blighted to a substantial extent the future of your family.”