Serial gambler conned 25 people in £34k fraud claiming he had staff discount contact at Flannels

A serial gambler who conned 25 people out of a total of £34,000 after he lied about having a contact with a staff discount at Flannels has been put behind bars.

Reece Casey told a pal he was able to get cheaper clothes at the luxury clothing stockist and she passed money onto him from her and her friends whowanted to buy them. However, Newcastle Crown Court heard that the employee at the store did not exist and he instead profited from the money sent to him from people in Sunderland.

Prosecutor Katie Spence said: "Between the 5th of June 2021 and the 19th of June 2021, the defendant defrauded 25 complainants out of £34,000. The defendant assured that he could get a reduced rate from the store Flannels due to having a friend who had staff discount there of 40%."

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However, this was not the case. Casey's friend ordered multiple items on behalf of her pals and family. The court heard that the victim's friends and relatives sent money to her, and she then passed it on to Casey with the payments varying from £129 to £4,590.

Reece Casey.

Casey, of Maughan Street, Dudley, West Midlands, who has four previous non relevant convictions, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. Judge Stephen Earl sentenced him to 12 months behind bars. The judge said the victims of the scam were left feeling "duped", "terrible", "let down" and "deceived", while being left with "unnecessary stress, worry and upset".

Judge Earl told Casey: "You are not a bad person, I accept but you have acted in such a way you can forgive others for thinking you must be."

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In a victim impact statement read at a former hearing, Casey's former friend said: "I would like to say I'm devastated by what has happened. I trusted Reece, he was a family friend. I am hurt and so disappointed he has let me down like this.

"It's not just affecting me but my whole family. I have been so worried, anxious and distressed. I have not been eating and sleeping properly. I believed we were getting the discount. He continued to let me order goods and he assured me it would be OK."

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Kelly Sharif, defending, told the court that Casey had amassed a huge gambling problem which had even seen him squander money won on the lottery.

Ms Sherif said: "He has shown extreme remorse in relation to his victims. This was a period where he fraudulently took a lot of money from people. However, in relation to these people, Mr Casey was unaware that there were so many victims.

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"He was only aware there were three people he was dealing with. At that time his gambling addiction was extremely bad. He attended rehabilitation thinking he had put all of the correct steps in place. Unfortunately, he began gambling again and he got into this situation where he finds himself today."

Ms Sherif said that Casey had been exploited by some gambling organisations on his phone despite enforcing self-bans on certain apps. The court also heard that he was "doing everything he can" to get the money back for his victims.