A mortgage adviser has been jailed for 18 months after stealing £200,000 from his friends and family to keep up with his gambling addiction.
Kevin Barker, a part-owner of K&B Mortgage Solutions, pleaded guilty to 16 charges of mortgage fraud after lying to his close friends and associates about a property development opportunity, local paper the Bradford Telegraph & Argus reports.
The victims, who included the best man from Barker’s wedding and a friend who was godfather to his children, had taken out personal loans and readjusted their finances for the business proposition.
Bradford County Court heard how the 16 complainants were conned out of various amounts of money, ranging room £5,000 to £25,000.
Barker was granted a reduced sentence after the judge read glowing references from the complainants, who had not wanted him to be jailed.
One complainant told the court: “The property development opportunity did not exist. He told lies to cover his gambling addiction. It spiraled out of control when he started borrowing from friends to pay back what he owed to others.”
After discovering Barker’s deceit, his mother contacted all the complainants to tell them the truth and assure them she would pay them back.
Barker then handed himself in to the police and admitted 16 counts of fraud.
His lawyer told the court that Barker was misguided and that since his confession, he has started tackling his addiction by attending Gamblers Anonymous.
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