Edinburgh Crime: Crooked banker who fleeced pals to fund his gambling habit dodges prison

David Hay conned the group of pals into handing over thousands of pounds in a bid to feed his out of control football gambling habit.

Hay, 42, convinced the men he could supply the currency at preferential rates due to his position as a financial investigator with banking giant HSBC.

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But he has spent the huge amounts he received from the investors on hundreds of online football bets with Bet365.

Conman Hay covers his face as he arrives at court to learn his fate.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told one of the victims who acted as “a middle man” was forced to take out a £29,000 loan “to reimburse” his friends after the currency scam collapsed.

Hay admitted fraudulently obtaining £35,970 between June and October 2018 when he appeared at the capital court last month and he was back in the dock for sentencing.

Prosecutor Anna Chisholm told the court Hay contacted friend Gary Small on WhatsApp to inform him he could provide the foreign currency at cheap rates in June 2018.

Dodgy ex-bank worker Hay breaks the news of his sentence as he leaves Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Mr Small made bank transfers totaling £20,000 into two accounts belonging to Hay and the court was told “this agreement took place several times with no issues at first”.

But after Mr Small involved four friends in the deal Hay began reneging on handing over the foreign currency.

The prosecutor said “problems [regarding repayment] rose as the requests gained in frequency and value”.

The court heard “the [foreign] currency was never received” by the group of investors on several occasions and “a refund was never issued”.

Ms Chisholm said: “Mr Small took it upon himself to reimburse several complainers and took out a £29,000 loan to cover the costs of reimbursing the numerous witnesses.

“He made the accused aware and the accused stated he would provide money to meet the loan payments and pay the bank loan back.”

Mr Small received some reimbursement from Hay but when the payments dried up he decided to contact the police to report the fraud in March 2019.

During a police interview Hay, from Leith, said he had been sacked from his position with HSBC “as he had breached data protection” after accessing information he should not have.

The court was also told There used the cash to “fund his gambling addiction, namely football betting online” with Bet365.

The betting firm became “concerned regarding the amount of gambling” and closed Hay’s account down.

Lawyer Chris Fehilly said Hay lost his job, marriage, his home and friends because of the scam.

Sheriff Douglas Keir said: “There is no doubt this was quite appalling behaviour.

“You have taken steps to repay some of the money you took but there is still a sum outstanding.

“You have already paid a heavy price for the loss of your job, your home and your marriage.

“Against all that background I am persuaded, just, there is an alternative to custody.”

The sheriff sentenced There to a 20 month supervision order and to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

There will also have to pay Mr Small £250 every month for the next 18 months.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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