Robert Parker from Barry in South Wales was caught on CCTV kissing wads of cash as he took it from the estate agency he worked for, Wales Online reported.
A forensic audit of the firm’s accounts suggested 28-year-old Parker may have stolen as much as £650,000, but he denied the original charge of £525,000 and admitted the lesser sum of £302,000.
Crown prosecutors admitted they could not prove the higher amount given the evidence available.
Parker began working at Nina Estate Agents in Barry in 2009 and after moving from sales to lettings where he collected payments from tenants and entered them into the record system.
However, after receiving a £200,000 tax bill from HMRC, owner Nina Chivers paid for an undercover forensic investigation by a new accountancy firm in 2016.
It became clear Parker was taking the cash payments himself, despite issuing receipts to tenants and paying landlords’ income.
He had avoided detection by transferring money from the sales to lettings business, but was eventually arrested in October 2017 after Chivers watched CCTV footage of him taking the cash.
£50k gambling addiction
Wales Online reported that Chivers had been left devastated after the case as she had known Parker since he was 14 and had “regarded him like a son.”
Parker said he used the money to primarily pay for his gambling addiction which reached as much as £50,000 a month at its peak with some bets worth thousands of pounds.
He has since sought support by regularly attending Gamblers Anonymous and his defending barrister told Cardiff Crown Court he had intended to repay the cash but it had “snowballed”.
A proceeds of crime hearing will take place in May to ascertain what can be recouped.