A lettings agents who stole £23,000 of tenants’ deposits to fund his gambling addiction and pay off debts has escaped jail.
Paul Philipps-Young, 40, was a negotiator for Reeds Rains but over a seven-month period took money which should have been paid into a Reeds Rains account by having it paid into his own.
Preston Crown Court heard that the fraud involved some seven properties.
Prosecuting, Mecedes Jabbari said that £23,315 was taken and put into the defendant’s account. A sum of £14,195 remains outstanding. He had been dismissed from Reeds Rains and the police were informed. However, Philipps-Young, a father of three, was not interviewed until March 2019 – nearly three years later. He told police that he had been part of a gambling syndicate and owed debts to an individual.
Ms Jabbiari said that threats had been made to his family and he felt he had no other option but to engage in fraudulent activity.
The court heard that the defendant had offered to repay the money to Reeds Rains in monthly instalments. He pleaded guilty to fraud.
Philipps-Young, who had previous convictions for theft by employee, was defended by Andrew Nuttall who said he had sought help from Gamblers Anonymous, paid some of the money and has a new job.
He said: “He makes no excuses.” He criticised the “quite extraordinary delay” in bringing the case to court but said that Phillips-Young had used the time to prove himself as a man of character.
Judge David Potter said that because of the “inexcusable and inordinate delay” and the defendant’s genuine remorse, he could avoid an immediate prison sentence.
Philipps-Young was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay £5,400.