Racing Data Man Jailed For Bookmaker Fraud

November 8, 2021
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A crooked betting specialist for a national news agency that provided information to numerous bookmakers has been jailed after altering the results of horse races.

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A crooked betting specialist for a national news agency that provided information to numerous bookmakers has been jailed after altering the results of horse races.

Gambling addict Jack Bentham worked for the Press Association racing data provider and secretly manipulated the winning or losing favorites in races so that he could fraudulently win more than £15,000.

Bentham, 24, was told by the judge that the level of fraud he committed during his short employment with the Press Association, now PA Media, was "quite frankly staggering" as he was jailed for ten months.

The gambling addict had only been in his role for a month in October 2018 when suspicions were raised by bookmakers about bets placed in the Goole area of East Yorkshire.

His offending started on his first unsupervised day in the job at the agency's headquarters in nearby Howden, Hull Crown Court heard.

Part of the Press Association's service was to set odds for bookmakers and Bentham would place bets on the favorite, and if it did not win he would swap its "label" over to make it the winner, the court heard.

That meant other gamblers who had backed the same losing horse were also able to claim winnings, while those who had picked the real winner lost out.

Cathrine Kioko-Gilligan, prosecuting, said Bentham made around £15,000 from these bets and was found to have around £5,000 in credit when the suspicious activity was discovered.

The fraud was discovered when Sky Bet told the Press Association about suspicious betting irregularities and bet365 and Paddy Power made similar complaints.

The computer system was examined and 105 bets by Bentham involving suspicious activity were discovered.

"The defendant would watch races live and bet on the favorite," said Kioko-Gilligan.

The loss to bookmakers was around £10,000, the court heard, but any money he fraudulently made was plowed back into more betting.

Stephen Robinson, defending, said Bentham, who has a daughter and lives with his parents, had taken steps to address his offending.

He said: "Sadly from the age of 18, if not slightly younger, he became involved in gambling that swiftly led to an addiction."

Bentham was left with "very nasty scarring" following a serious assault and hoped to raise funds for plastic surgery, Robinson said.

The defense barrister added: "He admitted the offense in an interview and made full and frank admissions and expressions of regret."

Bentham had banned himself from his local betting shop and placed blockers on gambling online, the court was told.

Recorder Megan Rhys said the seriousness of his offending meant an immediate custodial sentence was necessary.

The judge said: "This was a serious breach of trust. The level of fraud committed over such a short period of time was quite frankly staggering and it started on the very first day your supervision ended."

A proceeds of crime hearing will take place next year.

In August, Bentham admitted fraud between October 13, 2018 and October 22, 2018.

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