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Gambling Firm Pays £500,000 to Dundee City Council

Dominique Adams

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William Hill sign

The UK’s best-known bookmaker William Hill has paid some of the stolen funds gambled away by a disgraced former city council employee.

The payment follows a serious case of fraud perpetrated by IT Senior Officer Mark Conway, who purloined £1 million from Dundee City Council by exploiting a loop to send money to his own account instead of legitimate suppliers between August 2009 and May 2016. Conway, who was subsequently sentenced to five years and four months in prison, gambled much of this away online.

The £500,000, which has been described by the company as an ex gratia payment (not made due to any legal obligation), is said to represent the share of the proceeds of Conway’s crime. William Hill’s identity only became public knowledge after a freedom of information request by The Courier newspaper.

Greater Vigilance is Needed

A spokesperson  from Gamble Aware, an independent UK addiction charity said: “It is quite right that where funds are the proceeds of crime they are returned to the rightful owner, and in the past the Gambling Commission has required this when it reviews such cases to see if there has been a breach of the bookmaker’s gambling licence.”

“Gambling companies should be constantly looking for any indication that their customers are getting into trouble with their gambling. One obvious signal is a higher than normal level of spending, which these figures suggest could have been very clear. It would be disappointing if, in such a case, this was not spotted and properly investigated.”

Richard McCready, a Dundee councillor, echoed this saying: “It is clear Mark Conway is the main culprit in this case. However, there has been a failure on behalf of the banks, William Hill and the council and it is important we learn the lessons from this.”

“I also understand in these times of austerity, the council needs money wherever it can get it, but I am not convinced the council should allow William Hill to clear their conscience with this payment.”

He added: “This fraud was discovered, to some extent, by chance. If it had not been discovered, Conway could still be spending stolen money with William Hill.”

 

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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