Crooked accountant stole over £700,000 from Leeds business and spent it all on casinos and online gambling
An accountant "plundered" the finances of a Leeds electronics company and stole over £700,000 to fund his addiction to gambling.
Jamal Haider was jailed for 40 months over the offending which was carried out while he was entrusted to look after the finances at Wortley-based MechTronic Ltd.
Leeds Crown Court heard Haider used "ingenious"methods to hide his offending over a nine-month period during 2016.
Camille Morland, prosecuting, said Haider falsified invoices from suppliers then arranged for payments to be made from his employer's bank account into his own account and the account of his friend.
All of the stolen funds were later transferred to him.
The defendant then altered payment spreadsheets to hide the deception.
The court heard Haider stole a total of £744,508 before the offending came to light.
Haider had been allowed to work remotely after telling his bosses he had personal problems.
An investigation was launched after HMRC contacted the company over an unpaid VAT bill for £52,000.
Haider was absent from work at time after telling his employer he had to deal with "family business abroad."
It was discovered that he had transferred a total of £166,681 into his own bank account without authority.
Ms Morland said further investigation revealed Haider was spending large amounts on online gambling.
A company director provided a victim statement to the court describing how the offending had put a strain on the business.
The prosecutor said the Gambling Commission became involved in the case.
They put pressure on the betting firms who had profited from Haider's offending to return sums to the company.
Haider, now of Greenrigg Road, Cumbernauld, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to two offences of theft from employer.
Haider was bailed pending investigation but went on commit offences of theft and forgery after getting a job at a firm of solicitors in Morley.
During those offences he wrote a company cheque to himself for £9,876.
Read more: Shocked Leeds resident found deadly sawn-off shotgun and ammunition hidden outside her houseHe was given a suspended sentence for those offences.
Shufqat Khan, mitigating, said: "Almost every penny he was obtaining through this offending was gambled away.
"This is not a man who has lived a lavish lifestyle. He has had a gambling addiction."
Sentencing, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said: "It was quite an ingenious way of covering up theft.
"You were able to plunder increasingly large sums of money.
"No sooner was the money in your account, it was out again to the casino."