Bank Manager Stole Nearly $25,000 from a Pensioner to Pay Off His Gambling Debt

  • Michael Roberts was found out when the victim asked for an update on her balance
  • The victim filled her account with money she intended to go to her daughter as a legacy
  • Roberts confessed to all of his crimes in full when confronted by investigators last year
  • Roberts will spend six months in jail and has already paid the bank back what he stole
Hacker trying to login to an account
A bank manager stole nearly $25,000 from an elderly woman to pay off his gambling debt. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Gambling debt leads to jail time

A bank manager in England stole £20,000 ($24,500) from a pensioner’s account to pay off his gambling debt.

sent the statement to an address separate from the one she had on file

Michael Roberts, 39, only came into the spotlight after the victim asked the bank why she had not received her annual statement. Roberts had strategically sent the statement to an address separate from the one she had on file in an attempt to hide his criminal act.

Roberts pleaded guilty to fraud by position and was sentenced to six months behind bars. He had already been attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings and could be required to after his stay in jail.

Missing legacy payment

The victim told Liverpool Crown Court that she intended to surprise her daughter with the money as a legacy payment. She has already been repaid her money plus interest, along with a £1,500 ($1,840) goodwill payment by the bank.

Roberts first came into contact with the woman at the Widnes branch of Yorkshire Bank, where he worked as the bank manager. 

Roberts was told by the victim two months after her husband’s death to transfer his remaining £27,766 ($34,028) individual savings account (ISA) to her account. She then told him that she would not touch the £53,000 ($65,000) and would instead leave it as a surprise for her daughter.

£20,000 ($24,500) was diverted to a separate file and then withdrawn

The paper trail shows that five months after the money was transferred in, £20,000 ($24,500) was diverted to a separate file and then withdrawn. His plot started unraveling last August when the victim visited the St. Helens branch of Virgin Money, which took the place of the Yorkshire Bank, and questioned why she had not received her account statement.

A worker at the bank suggested that she could have withdrawn the account in mourning for her dead husband and later forgotten, which left her incensed, according to prosecuting attorney Henry Riding.

Confessed in full

The £20,000 ($24,500) was discovered to be missing shortly after the victim visited the bank. Police were notified shortly after and opened an investigation. 

Roberts, who had been let go a year earlier when the Widnes branch shut down, fully confessed and was remorseful when meeting with authorities. He has since repaid the bank what he stole.

lost nearly 15 pounds while wrestling with worry

The elderly woman told the court that she lost nearly 15 pounds while wrestling with worry during the situation. 

“I believe the public would be genuinely shocked if such a case resulted in anything other than immediate custody,” Judge Brian Cummings said during court.

Jim Smith, a lawyer defending Roberts, noted that his client had no previous convictions and was a victim of a crippling addiction to gambling. He also revealed that his problems had snowballed so far that he had contemplated suicide, and his actions “will continue to punish himself for the remainder of his life.”