Gambling addict who embezzled £88k from elderly father jailed

Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

A North-east gambling addict, who embezzled £88,000 from his 94-year-old father, has been jailed for two years.

Pensioner Cecil Robertson chose his son Iain to become his power of attorney while he was living at a care home in Huntly.

However, the son soon found himself dipping into his father’s money to fund his gambling habit.

The court heard Robertson’s lies were eventually discovered when payments for his father’s accommodation became overdue.

When the bill reaching around £4,000 emerged, care home staff contacted his brother who confronted Robertson and asked what was happening.

Iain Robertson replied he would sort it out, but this did not happen and he was removed as power of attorney.

When his father and brother visited Huntly’s Bank of Scotland last May, the scale of Robertson’s deceit was revealed.

Payments charged to his father included almost £2,000 to online gambling sites.

Robertson, 63, of Queen’s Gardens in Huntly, appeared in Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday to be sentenced for the offence, which took place from April 2014 to May last year.

Fiscal depute John Richardson said the money had been used to purchase a property in Thailand, however, defence agent Iain Hingston did not accept this.

Mr Hingston said: “I would say it is hearsay evidence.”

He added: “This is one of the most tragic and depressing cases I have been involved in for a period of time.

“Mr Robertson is 63 years old and has never been in trouble before.

“He has had a significant gambling problem for many years.

“There are a number of siblings who could have been given power of attorney.

“He did not feel strong enough to admit to his addiction.”

He added that there was no prospect of the money being repaid.

Imposing a sentence, Sheriff Graham Buchanan said there was no alternative to imprisonment.

He said: “It is indeed tragic that someone of your age with no previous convictions appears before the court facing a charge as serious as this.

“What you did here was a very serious breach of trust.

“You recognise, of course, that only a sentence of imprisonment is appropriate.”