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Sandeep Singh, 34, bought a house with his unexpected windfall and transferred about £80,000 to India

A shopkeeper who pocketed more than £750,000 when it was mistakenly paid into his bank account thinking it belonged to a CASINO.

Sandeep Singh, 34, been jailed for 12 months after he bought a house with his unexpected windfall and transferred about £80,000 to India.

The majority of the cash remained in his account, which was frozen when the error came to light, Leicester Crown Court was told.

Singh, of Kashmir Road, Leicester, admitted theft of £766,098 between October 2014 and October 2016, reports Leicester Mercury .

Lynsey Knott, prosecuting, said the defendant was running an off-licence in Northampton when he approached a company, DC Payments Ltd, to have an ATM installed.

The agreement was that the proprietor was responsible for loading the machine with the cash which would then be reimbursed by the company, along with a rental payment for having the machine on the premises.

In error, the defendant’s account was mistakenly confused with Rubicon Casino in Wolverhampton, which had a high turnover of money being taken out of its’ cash machines.

The casino money was regularly wrongly refunded, in varying amounts, into the defendant’s account for two years.

Miss Knott said: “There were multiple opportunities to notify DC Payments of the error, including during site visits from the company.”

By the time DC Payments realised the error and tried to contact him, he had sold his business.

When they rang him he terminated their call, said Miss Knott.

He later told them he had tried to call them about the matter - and said he had spent £75,000 on a house.

Miss Knott said that in excess of £260,000 had been taken from the account.

Sentencing Singh, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: “It’s clear to me you’ve been a hardworking man and done the best by your family.

“But you’ve let yourself and them down."

Martin Liddiard, mitigating, said: “There’s still nearly half a million pounds in his UK account which is under a restraining order.

“His home has also been restrained.

“In all, a good £600,000 will be recoverable.

“He hasn’t moved the majority of it, taken it or transferred it.

“It doesn’t read well (in court documents) that he tried once or twice phoning to bring it to their attention and then left it.

“He’s a relatively young man and was doing pretty well running a shop and he introduced a cash machine for his customers and this happened by way of error.

“One can see it was tempting to only make half-hearted attempts to repay it.

“He didn’t engineer it and he did nothing to stop it.

“Some people might have seen that money and may have taken it straight away and spent it.

“He now finds himself in the dock and looking at a very serious offence.

“Three days ago his mother died (abroad) and his bail conditions meant he couldn’t travel.

“He lives with his partner and her young daughter.

“He’s the one who pays the bills and looks after his extended family.

“The offence came to him rather than he to it and, whilst serious, it would be a shame if he had to spend time in custody and break that work cycle.

“He no longer has a shop and is working in engineering and IT.

“The lions share, if not all of it is going to go back.”

Judge Dean said: “Even if the money from India was returned there’s still a not inconsiderable shortfall.”

Mr Liddiard said: “We will make efforts to ensure it does come back.”

 

A proceeds of crime hearing to recover the money is due in December.

09.10.2017
 
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