'It's difficult to imagine a meaner offence': Leeds hostel support worker committed fraud against vulnerable resident to fund drug and gambling addiction

A support worker at a hostel for vulnerable people abused the trust placed in him by defrauding a resident in order to fund his drug and gambling addiction.

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 11:45 am

James Hossein committed the offices while he was working at a hostel run by the Turning Lives Around organisation in Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard Hossein had previously received support from the organisation before becoming a volunteer and then a support worker.

Hossein, 30, targeted a vulnerable resident in February last year after being trusted with the victim's bank card and details.

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Leeds Crown Court

Rupert Dodswell, prosecuting, said Hossein initially helped the victim transfer sums of £50 and £300.

Hossein committed the offence when he saw that the victim had a large amount of money in his account.

The defendant was seen in the office at work on his day off and told colleagues he was catching up on his duties.

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The transaction was stopped but further investigation revealed sums totalling £459 had gone from his account on five occasions.

Hossein then went on sick leave but was suspended by his employer pending an investigation.

He was asked to return his work mobile phone and tablet device but failed to do so.

Hossein, of Malvern Grove, Beeston, pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud, one of attempted fraud and theft.

Probation officer Helen Nunns said Hossein had previously received support at the hostel for his drug and gambling addiction.

He was then offered work there after doing "extremely well" with his rehabilitation.

Ms Nunns said: "He admits that it was absolutely unacceptable. He has abused his position.

"He is absolutely disgusted with himself, in his own words."

Ms Akhtar said Hossein is due to begin cognitive behavioural therapy to address his offending.

Hossein was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to complete 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Hossein was also ordered to pay £200 costs and £200 compensation to Turning Lives Around.

Recorder Tony Hawks said: "It is difficult to imagine a meaner offence.

"But I am impressed by letters he has written to the court. He is obviously an articulate individual."