Posted on: July 25, 2022, 12:54h. 

Last updated on: July 25, 2022, 04:02h.

For too much love for gambling, an employee in Liverpool threatened the livelihood of his employer and his friend. As a manager, he stole cash from the business on several occasions, putting the company on the verge of shutting down.

Paul Hodges
Paul Hodges, appearing outside a court in Liverpool. He stole from a former employee to feed his gambling habit. (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Paul Hodges, 35, worked for years at a Shell gas station, rising to become a manager in 2014. As such, he had access to the company’s money as part of his responsibilities for managing the books.

During his nine-year tenure at the station, he began siphoning funds. He ultimately stole around £20,000 (US$24,108) before getting caught, according to the Liverpool Echo. 

A routine accounting check by his area manager raised a red flag this past February, leading to a more thorough review of the money.

Hodges has now appeared before a judge on theft charges but only received a light sentence.

Too Little, Too Late

Upon opening the safe, the area manager discovered that two money bags covering revenue from the two previous days were not there. What he found was just £200 (US$241).

No one else could have been responsible for the theft, so the company called Hodges to find out what happened. Hodges, however, just hung up the phone.

But it didn’t take long for Hodges to show remorse. He soon called back and tried to apologize for what he had done. He even offered to return the money he took during his five-day spree. Hodges reportedly had gambling problems, which led to the repeated thefts.

The business then reported the incidents to the police. That’s when Hodges admitted the full span of his theft. He told police he had been taking money and replacing it for years, and his antics landed him in front of a court judge to answer for his actions.

Family Hardship

In court, Keith Janion, the business owner, explained that Hodges’ thefts almost wiped out his business. At the very least, they put him in a “poor financial position.”

Hodges’ attorney, Kate Morley, tried to lean on the court’s mercy. She explained that her client was struggling because of his full-time job and his obligations at home.

He reportedly was the caregiver for his mother and four siblings, all of whom suffer from “serious or long-standing illnesses.” When his grandmother passed away, it all became too much, and he allegedly turned to gambling as an escape.

Morley added that jail time would put an undue hardship on the family, and her pleas worked. The judge ultimately sentenced Hodges to 20 months in prison but suspended 18 months. In addition, he will have to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and submit to rehabilitation.

The court also ordered Hodges to pay £5,000 (US$6,024).