A callous gambler who stole £144,000 from his parents to fund his betting addiction has been jailed.
Jason Rogers began taking the cash from his parents joint account after his father Richard had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Rogers emptied the TSB account of £54,000 before going on to obtain loans in his parents’ names of around £90,000 after he had been granted power of attorney over his father’s financial affairs.
Rogers, from Belhaven, near Dunbar, cleaned out the account over a four month period last year before blowing the huge amount on the online gambling site Paddy Power.
The scam was only uncovered when bank staff got in touch Rogers’ mother Carol to inquire about the large transactions from her and her husband’s joint account.
Rogers had admitted to stealing £54,000 from his parents’ account and to obtaining a further £90,000 in loans taken out in the names of his parents between August 1 and November 25 last year when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.
The 28-year-old returned to court for sentencing on Thursday where Sheriff Robert Fife told him he took “a grave view” of the offence and that Rogers had “abused the responsibilities placed on him” by his parents. Sheriff Fife jailed Rogers for 10 months.
Previously prosecutor Aidan Higgins told the court Rogers father Richard had taken early retirement in 2007 and he had received a £37,000 lump sum and a monthly pension of £1,200 to £1,400.
Mr Rogers had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012 at the age of 57 and all his financial affairs were handed over to his wife and his son.
Rogers then helped his mother set up online banking to deal with matters and he was given a bank card, the PIN number and online access to the account.
Mr Higgins said: “The accused’s mother was then contacted by the bank in November 2016 and asked to attend the bank to discuss transactions into her and her husband’s account.
“She was informed effectively her account and the joint account had been cleaned out.”
Mrs Rogers confronted her son over the missing cash and he admitted “he had spent it on gambling”.
Mr Higgins added: “He went on to say his gambling had got out of control.”
The court also heard after spending the £54,000 on his addiction Rogers then obtained loans in his parents names from various financial institutions and on one occasion duped his dad into signing the loan form by pretending it was a PPI claim form.
The thief then transferred the large sum of cash into his own account where he continued to finance his gambling addiction.
Following the meeting between Mrs Rogers and bank staff last November she returned home to find a letter from her son in which he admitted stealing their cash.
Mrs Rogers decided to immediately inform the police and her son was soon arrested and charged over the missing funds.
Yesterday, Colm Dempsey, defending, said his client was repaying the stolen cash back at a rate of £300 per month and his family was standing by him by accompanying him to court.
Mr Dempsey added: “The guilt and the shame of his actions will persist for a lengthy period of time.
“He always had an interest in gambling and the offence escalated. Small bets increased in their frequency and the sums involved quickly escalated out of his financial means.
“He embarked on attempting to win the money back but that elusive win was always just around the corner.”
Mr Dempsey said Rogers has been engaging with Gamblers Anonymous and that “all the money has been gambled away to these institutions” .
In sentencing, Sheriff Fife said: “There was a high level of planning over a period of months by the accused.
“Aggravating factors include the substantial planning, the very significant breach of trust and the level of deceit towards the accused’s parents and the untold stress caused to his parents.”