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Used car salesman conned garage out of thousands to fund gambling addiction

A used car salesman conned his employer out of thousands of pounds and stole a luxury car to fund his gambling habit, a court heard.

Robert McNamara, who worked as a general sales manager for Griffin Mill Garages, based in Pontypridd , pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud by false representation and one of theft.

Prosecuting at Cardiff Crown Court , Claire Pickthall described his offending as “sustained and sophisticated”.

Sales manager

The court heard the defendant was hired as a sales manager in May 2015 and was responsible for used cars.

Ms Pickthall said: “That was obviously a senior position within the business.”

Prosecutors said he was suspended for an unrelated matter and later dismissed in May 2016, at which point his criminal behaviour was discovered.

The court heard he committed the fraud offences during the four-month period between December 2015 and April 2016.

Ms Pickthall explained he would agree a price with a customer, create an invoice and ask the customer to pay that amount into his personal bank account.

He would than cancel that invoice, create a new one for a lower price and keep the difference.

Prosecutors said he would usually take about £500 at a time, but pocketed more than £1,000 in one transaction.

Stole a £9,000 Audi

He also admitted stealing an Audi worth £9,000 which came in for part-exchange and “never went through the books”.

The court heard his offending was discovered in April last year and it was found he had caused a loss of more than £12,000 to Griffin Mill Garages.

Griffin Mill Garages
Griffin Mill Garages

McNamara made full admissions as soon as he was arrested last December and told officers he had a gambling problem.

Ms Pickthall said: “Thankfully it is a healthy business and they have been able to recover from this.”

She argued the offending was sustained and sophisticated and breached his position of trust.

McNamara, 48, from Aspen Way in Llantwit Fardre, Pontypridd , admitted ten counts of fraud by false representation and one count of theft.

Michael Hallett, defending, stressed his client and his estranged wife had re-paid all the money.

He argued the defendant had worked hard in establishing a new franchise and added to the value of the company.

Mr Hallett suggested work and family pressures had led to the father-of-two’s his gambling addiction.

‘A long-established business’

Recorder Mark Powell QC said: “This is a long-established and highly regarded business.”

He told the defendant: “The loss to the company was financial, but the loss to its reputation – trying to sort out the mess you left behind – is incalculable.”

The case was heard at Cardiff Crown Court
The case was heard at Cardiff Crown Court

McNamara was committed to prison for 20 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. He must pay £360 in costs and a £140 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, general manager Mike Johnson said: “We are really pleased justice has been done.

“Rob McNamara is a thief who held a senior and responsible position within our company.

“He repeatedly abused this position and the trust that came with it to line his own pockets.

“He clearly thought that the law did not apply to him and I am pleased to say that today’s sentence proves it does.”

Mr Johnson thanked the police and his staff, adding: “Discovering we had a thief at work amongst us has been a shock to us all.

“Despite feeling upset, angry and let down, the team have continued to focus on the daily needs of the business and providing good service to our customers.”

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