How Sunderland AFC helped rumble casino manager’s £2,000 fraud

Former casino manager Sarah Hart leaving court.
Former casino manager Sarah Hart leaving court.

A debt-ridden casino manager helped herself to nearly £2,000 of her employer’s cash intended to pay for punters’ prizes.

Sarah Hart’s gamble failed to pay off when her scam was exposed after she left her sales and events manager role with Grosvenor Casino in February.

Grosvenor Casino, where Hart helped herself to almost �2,000.

Grosvenor Casino, where Hart helped herself to almost �2,000.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard how the 32-year-old’s deception came to light, when Sunderland AFC started querying unpaid invoices for tickets and hospitality.

Prosecutor Paul Doney said Hart’s bosses soon realised that she had withdrawn cash from the company’s account and pocketed the money.

Mr Doney added: “Part of her position was organising events and purchasing tickets the casino could use for prizes, to do this she had the authority to sign out money.

“Following her exit from the casino, the general manager was contacted by SAFC over some unpaid bills. Various football tickets had been purchased between July 2015 and February 2016, by the defendant, on behalf of the casino, some of which were never paid for. However, the defendant had withdrawn the money from the casino, leaving invoices and receipts accounting for the money taken, which should have been paid to the accounts department at SAFC.

“The general manager states that, as a result, Grosvenor Casino is £1,971 short.”

When interviewed by police, Hart said she had recently split from her former partner and was left with debts, but that she had intended to repay the money.

Hart, of Quarry Road, Silksworth, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, between July 2015 and February this year.

A sobbing Hart, who represented herself in court, told district judge Paul Carr that her former partner had left her with “significant debts”, including £6,000 owed to a loan shark. The ex had contributed £1,800, she added.

“I work as a sales executive for a car firm. They are not aware of the situation as it stands,” she added. “I do think they should be aware.”

Judge Carr said: “These are serious matters because there is a breach of trust. You have snaffled from them, money that should have been used to fund some of the expenses of the business.

“If you are foolish enough to commit any further offences, it will hang over your head.”

Hart was given an 18-month conditional discharge and must pay £1,971 compensation to Grosvenor Casino, costs of £45 and a £20 victim surcharge.