Christopher Coupes is in a spot of trouble. This bookkeeper from Stockport stole nearly £50,000 from the company he worked for – which was facing serious financial troubles – so that he could fund his habit of betting on Premier League fixtures.
Coupes worked at an engineering consulting firm where he kept the books. During the past year, he would write checks out to various legitimate suppliers, then had his supervisors sign them – something that he did every day as part of his job. But he wrote the checks using a special erasable pen he bought online. He would then take the checks home, erase the name, and make them out to himself.
The company was in dire straits, battling to stay afloat financially. It had recently cut its employee base by 20% to save money. During all this, Coupes £47,575, which he spent to fund his habit of internet betting in the United Kingdom. When his managers finally noticed discrepancies in the accounts, they asked Coupes to help them look for the source of the error. Coupes promptly fled, but was soon tracked down.
Unfortunately, the man lost the £50,000 he spent betting through online sportsbooks in the UK. His plan was to “win big” and pay the money back, but things didn’t work out the way he hoped. The judge has spared the man jail time (for now), handing him a 12-month sentence suspended for two years with supervision, plus 250 hours’ unpaid work.
“You purchased a pen that contained erasable ink and you cooked the books,” said the judge. “A gambling addiction is no excuse. If you bet as a mug punter, you lose, that’s what happens.”