A pensioner with a “lifelong” gambling addiction resorted to stealing almost £40,000 of his future inheritance before his mother had even died.
Gordon Davidson abused his position as her financial guardian and embezzled the cash to feed his habit.
The 75-year-old drained his mum’s bank accounts on an “almost daily basis” – breaking her trust by withdrawing for himself huge sums of cash that didn’t yet belong to him.
She sadly passed away before officials realised what he was doing and put a stop to the illicit activities.
When challenged about the missing money, Davidson confessed to taking it – blaming his addiction.
Aberdeen gambling addict’s embezzlement lands him in court
Fiscal depute Jane Spark told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Davidson was appointed his mother’s financial and welfare guardian on February 7 2018.
As part of his appointment, he was required to submit accounts and evidence to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) upon their request.
On March 5 2019, Davidson was sent a letter requesting him to submit the first year’s accounts.
He did so on May 3 2019 but the information supplied “did not meet the required criteria”.
The form was incomplete and there was insufficient evidence to support the transactions.
Ms Spark said: “Between July 8 2019 and January 21 2021, the accused was sent four further letters requesting resubmission of the first year’s accounts, and later submission of the second year’s account information, however, failed to respond”.
On March 23 2021, a guardianship manager was assigned to the enquiry and left Davidson a voicemail and sent an email reminding him of his obligations.
He replied to the email two days later and stated the accounts “would not balance as he had spent some of his mother’s money”.
Ms Spark added: “He suggested that the best course of action would be for him to be referred to the local authority. He was advised to cease accessing his mother’s accounts.
“The guardianship manager spoke with the accused on the phone, whereby he admitted that he had been misusing the funds since his appointment in February 2018.
“He said that, on an almost daily basis, he would make multiple cash withdrawals so that he could fund his lifelong gambling habit.
“He further stated that he would regularly visit his mother at her care home and there were no outstanding care fees.”
Gordon Davidson’s spending spree revealed thousands of pounds missing
A request was submitted that Davidson’s mother’s accounts be “safeguarded” to ensure he was unable to withdraw any more money.
And a review of bank statements found that, while £14,214.15 had been paid to his mother’s care home, he had also withdrawn substantial amounts of money himself.
Davidson took a total of £38,220.78, including:
- £17,908.92 from February 7 2018 to February 28 2019
- £15,803.03 from March 1 2019 to February 28 2020
- £4,508.83 from March 1 2020 to February 28 2021
On June 6 2021, Davidson was sent a letter with a calculation of the misused funds but he didn’t respond and the matter was then reported to the police.
A criminal investigation found the money was predominantly taken through cash withdrawals of varying amounts throughout the period of the offence.
Officers traced Davidson, cautioned and arrested him.
Pensioner punished for lifelong gambling addiction
“During interview, he admitted that he had withdrawn the funds on several occasions to fund his lifelong gambling habit,” Ms Spark told the court.
“He took full responsibility, stating no other person was involved or aware of him removing the money.”
Davidson, of Bressay Brae in Aberdeen, pled guilty to a charge of embezzlement.
His defence agent Shane Campbell said his client, at the age of 75, was as a first-time offender.
“The social work report indicated he has led a productive, hard-working life,” Mr Campbell told the court and added: “He’s currently the carer for his wife”.
He added: “This is a man who has obviously struggled with a gambling addiction for long parts of his adult life.
“He was in a situation where it became easy for him to access money and he clearly accepts he took advantage of that to fund his addiction.”
Mr Campbell said his client’s mother had passed away in September last year.
“He understands he has committed a serious breach of trust and his mother would be incredibly disappointed by his actions,” he added.
But Mr Campbell also explained that Davidson would have received the money eventually in any case as the sole beneficiary in his mother’s will.
And he said there was no suggestion that her care was impacted in any way.
“I’m fairly sure we will not see Mr Davidson in this building again,” Davidson’s lawyer concluded.
Sheriff Ian Wallace told the offender that his offence represented a “significant breach of trust”.
As a direct alternative to prison, he ordered Davidson to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.
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