A betting shop worker was today jailed over a Back to the Future style gambling scam that netted him more than £40,000.
Gavin Thomson found a glitch in Coral’s computer system that allowed him to place bets after events had finished.
He gave friends and punters cash to go into their branches in Dundee and Forfar to put on coupons on sporting events that he knew the results to – guaranteeing him a winner.
The fraud echoes the plot of classic sci-fi movie Back to the Future II, where Marty McFly’s nemesis Biff Tannen travels back in time with sports results from events that had already finished to place bets and make himself rich.
Thomson was today jailed for a year after admitting the £40,300 fraud carried out over less than three months.
A court heard Thomson was raking in up to £1,000 per shift by running the con.
Fiscal depute Saima Rasheed told Dundee Sheriff Court Thomson was a manager’s assistant at the Forfar and Dundee Coral branches when he carried out the scam.
She said: “In the summer of 2015 the accused learned that a glitch in the system enabled him to allow late bets placed by customers.
“He began to ask customers and friends to place bets in the Dundee and Forfar stores on his behalf and he would provide them with stake money.
“In January 2016 a regional risk assessor with Coral carried out an audit of payout made at the Forfar branch.
“It was discovered there was a problem with the computer system which allowed bets to be retrospectively placed for events that have passed, by changing the sport type when inputting the bet on to the system.
“The assessor discovered 64 bets placed after the events took place that had been processed by the accused in Forfar.
“The total loss at this branch was £17,500.
“The assessor ascertained he also worked at Dundee and discovered 55 bets placed after the events took place that had been processed by the accused in Dundee.
“The total loss in this branch amounted to £22,800.
“In January 2016 he was suspended and on January 27 106 he was interviewed.
“He said he didn’t realise it had gotten so bad.
“He stated there was a glitch and he was going through a bad period of gambling and found it an easy way to get money back.
“He said when he found the glitch he used it to his advantage.
“He said he involved customers and replied that it was to cover his tracks.
“He said his gambling problem started with fruit machines and got bad when his daughter was born and got out of control and he spent all of his wages.
“He stated he spent all the money he obtained in gambling machines and casinos.
“He was informed that he was sometimes going away with around £1,000 per shift.”
Thomson, 27, of Viewmount, Forfar, pleaded guilty on indictment to two charges of fraud committed between October 2015 and January 2016.
Defence solicitor Sarah Russo said the father-of-one was a “genuine first offender”.
She added: “He came to know about a glitch in the system.
“He had a gambling addiction and it got to the point he was gambling at his lunchtime and after work.
“He was gambling his wages on a regular basis.
“He had spent all his wages in one day and was in a state of desperation and remembered about the glitch in the system and things escalated from there.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Thomson for a year.
He said: “The sum involved and the breach of trust mean I’ve come to the conclusion there’s no option other than custody.
“I take into account that it was a first offence and there has been no offending since.”