A WIGAN bank manager who stole more than £400,000 from an elderly doctor to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed for two years and eight months.
Sentencing Paul Buck, 36, at Preston Crown Court, Judge Stuart Baker said; “No right-thinking member of the community, other than those who of course support you and who’s views are coloured by affection for you, could seriously think taking money on this scale with this criminality from such an elderly man could merit anything other than immediate custody.”
Buck, of Langham Road, Standish, pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining money by deception and 13 of fraud after swindling cheques from 91-year-old Dr Wren, who was paying him to invest the cash.
The court heard although Buck had at first helped the doctor make a profit, he then began paying the cheques into his own bank account, using it to pay off credit card debts racked up by internet gambling.
The married father-of-three, who started working for Santander in 2001, was working as a financial adviser at the time the offences started but was promoted to a regional manager.
The hearing was told that at one point Buck attempted suicide.
Prosecuting, Brett Gerrity, revealed Buck had realised he had a problem after reading about the death of football manager, Gary Speed, when it was falsely alleged that the Wales star had killed himself because of gambling debts.
After confessing to his wife and family, the court heard he visited Dr Wren’s home in Whittle-le-Woods on December 8 and told his elderly wife what he had done. He was arrested the following day after telling his bosses what he had done.
Mr Gerrity said: “Tragically Dr Wren passed away on December 18, 2011. Mrs Wren, who is a similar age, was unaware of what was happening with the finances. They were dealt with by Dr Wren.
“Buck confessed to his employers at the Fishergate branch in Preston the day after he visited the doctor’s home. The court heard Mrs Wren, a devout Roman Catholic, expressed sympathy and compassion when learning he had tried to take his own life.”
Defending, Reginald Mills said Buck believed he had swindled around £80,000 but it was in fact £434,000. Buck earned £57,000 a year in his managerial role at the bank.
Mr Mills said Buck and his wife and their three children could stand to lose their family home. He said Buck had “succumbed to temptation” after Dr Wren began handing him cheques in his own (Buck’s) name and said he was currently in £43,000 debt.
Judge Baker said: “It involved a persistent breach of trust.
“You were not taking the bank’s money you were taking his. Your attempt to conceal what you had done adds another level of seriousness to the case.
“You have ruined your good name, you have blighted your future and perhaps most sadly of all you have blighted to a substantial extent, the future of your family.”