Assistant Manager at UK Travel Agents Stole £18,000 for Gambling Debts

  • Deception carried out between September 2018 and April 2019
  • Morris gave customers his own bank details instead of the company's
  • Has pledged to repay the money to Flight Centre
Suited man sitting at a desk and stealing money.
James Morris handed two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to stealing from his employer to pay gambling debts. [Image: Shutterstock]

Pleaded guilty to stealing funds

An assistant manager at a travel agents in Leeds, UK, has been found guilty of abusing his position to commit fraud.

James Morris was found to have diverted funds from his employed Flight Centre, so that he could continue to gamble.

After an audit took place earlier this year, emails sent by Morris revealed discrepancies in the bank details that customers were given. Instead, payments meant for flights and holidays booked by Flight Centre were instead pocketed by Morris on seven separate occasions over several months.

Popular and well-liked

Leeds Crown Court heard this week that the popular and well-liked assistant manager had repeated the fraud over an eight-monh period between September 2018 and April 2019.

This meant that although customers could still go on their holidays, the company lost out on their payments.

Although Morris earned a salary of £34,000 ($42,000), Victoria Smith-Swain, mitigating, said that he was in the midst of a gambling addiction which had pushed him into debt. She said:

This offending was totally out of character for Mr Morris and a blip on a somewhat law abiding and respectable life.”

Morris resigned when the offense totaling £17,908 ($22,033) came to light. An audit was called for by his manager after the defendant was found to have not followed procedures. After the revealing emails surfaced, Morris was interviewed and accepted full responsibility.

Suspended sentence

Prosecutor Andrew Horton said: “By all accounts, he was great at his job. He said he was in debt, had no money and it seemed like a quick fix.”

Morris pled guilty to the offense and received a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Simon Morris, QC, said: “It was because you were trusted and because you were capable that you were able to perpetrate this fraud over the period of time that you did without causing suspicion to fall upon yourself.”

Morris is currently working with a charity to support him to tackle his gambling addiction. He has a new job and has said that he intends to repay the money back to Flight Centre.