Sunday 26 March 2017

Sports media figure cons bookmaker's assistant out of €3,000 betting credit

Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

A sports media figure caused the sacking of a young woman working in a bookmaker's shop in Dublin after he conned her into giving him credit on nearly €3,000 worth of bets, it has been learned.

The man, who did not return calls from the Sunday Independent last week, started appearing on a regular basis at the bookmakers around January last at about the same time the young woman began working in the shop. She had previously worked in a bookmakers in the south west and it was her first time living in Dublin.

He chatted to her and other staff and became familiar with them, telling one male member of staff of affairs he claimed he had been conducting with female television personalities.

According to friends he appeared in the bookmakers on Easter Tuesday last and told the young woman he was waiting for a cheque to clear in a nearby bank and asked for credit on a bet. He left but went nowhere near the local bank he had mentioned.

According to local people, he crossed the road to a pub where he drank pints of lager and lime and watched the races on television before returning to the bookies on three occasions to get more bets on credit.

By 3.40pm -- 20 minutes before banks close -- he had run up close to €3,000 in lost bets. At that stage the young woman realised what was happening and called her supervisor.

She was dismissed days later for "breach of procedure". No criminal offence was committed as betting is a commercial contract and the gardai are not involved. The bookmaking company is not instituting proceedings against him.

A senior source in the bookmaker company confirmed to the Sunday Independent last week that the incident had happened.

He said: "It was a despicable thing in our view. We're so sorry for the girl."

Colleagues of the girl said they were "terribly sorry" that the young woman was dismissed but there were strict rules on giving credit on bets. It was a clear "breach of procedure" but it was "very difficult for us". He added: "She is a fine young person. It was her first time up from the country and she was very happy, looking forward to living in the big city. She is a great girl.

She was great with customers and very good at her job. She was devastated."

Associates of the presenter say he had a history of gambling debts and bouncing cheques in pubs after building up a rapport with staff.

Two recent mobile phone numbers used by him were out of service and a call to a third went to voicemail.

Sunday Independent

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