A quick-talking gambler who lost bookmakers £10,000 by dwindling betting shop cashiers into believing he had won bets was sentenced on Monday.
John O’Connor, of St Mary’s Road, Ealing, conned staff at 14 Ladbrokes across the UK by using ‘slow count fraud’ tactics when in some cases he had not even paid his stake.
The 33-year-old’s tactics included buying time while he was waiting to see if his runner would win by placing a bet but then distracting the cashier by asking persistent questions, becoming rowdy or placing a series of small, obscure bets at the same time.
If it won, he would hand over his stake and claim the profit or pretend he had already paid and ask only for his winnings. He would then place the non-existent stake on another bet.
If he lost, he would leave without paying the stake.
He was charged with 15 counts of a fraud by misrepresentation, to which he pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court on November 24.
While on bail, awaiting sentence, he carried out the same offence at a Birmingham William Hill on December 28.
He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years for 16 counts of fraud by misrepresentation. He was also given a 12-month supervision order and a four-month alcohol treatment order.