A restaurant manager has stolen more than £11,000 from his business during a three-week theft spree over a busy Christmas period.
Daniel Cuthbert28, from Selby, worked as a branch manager at the Stew & Oyster restaurant in Malton’s Old Town Hall and was responsible for supervising and recording cash receipts and depositing money in the bank, said York Crown Court.
But between December 23, 2019 and January 13, 2020, he looted large sums from company funds to feed a growing gambling habit and deal with household debt.
Cuthbert, a father of two, was responsible for depositing the restaurant’s money into the company’s account, prosecutor Kelly Sheriff said.
The company’s chief operating officer noted that over a three-week trading period between December 2019 and January 2020, the restaurant had cash sales of just over £11,926, but none of that happened. had been deposited in the bank “or recorded as being banked by the defendant”.
Company bosses had previously challenged Cuthbert in January 2020 over an initial discrepancy of £920, but that turned out to be just the bottom line. Asked about this initial discrepancy, Cuthbert said he would “look into it as the bankbook was missing”.
Ms Sheriff said Cuthbert’s supervisor asked him “many times” to explain the missing funds, but he did not respond.
A disciplinary hearing was called but Cuthbert did not show up. He was duly dismissed by the company.
He was later arrested at his home and told police, “I expected that.”
Fallen on hard times
He admitted he robbed the business after going through tough times and struggled to cope with payments from his family home and managing his vehicle.
“He said he initially took smaller sums to play the lottery,” Ms Sheriff added.
“He said the winnings never came, but he was even more indebted to the company and kept taking money (from the restaurant) to gamble to pay them back,” Ms Sheriff said.
Cuthbert, of Elston Avenue, Selby, appeared for sentencing on Friday March 25 after pleading guilty to fraud as an abuse of position.
The court heard that in 2011 he received a warning for a similar offence.
Judge Simon Hickey told Cuthbert he had “buried his head in the sand” after being scolded by the company.
“You tried to avoid the problems hoping they would just go away – they didn’t,” Judge added.
“You abused your position of trust.”
However, Mr Hickey said he accepts that Cuthbert struggled ‘to look after your young family’ and that he had responsibilities to his children.
Because of this, along with Cuthbert’s timely guilty plea and “very real prospect of rehabilitation”, he could suspend the inevitable prison sentence.
The 12-month sentence was suspended for 18 months, during which Cuthbert will have to perform 150 hours of unpaid work.
Despite the £11,926 ‘benefit figure’ of Cuthbert’s ill-gotten gains, the judge issued a nominal forfeiture order of just £1 because the former hotel manager had no assets left and more money in the bank.