Blackpool children's care firm director whose gambling addiction led to firm's collapse and job losses is jailed
A children's care firm director gambled away almost every penny of the company's funds, leaving just £4 in their accounts.
Gambling addict Mark Rogers is starting a three year jail term after causing up to 28 people to lose their jobs.
Firm R2 Care Services Ltd - set up in 2018 to provide care for vulnerable children - went into liquidation as a result of his fraud.
Judge Guy Mathieson, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said: " The damage you have done can never be righted and can never be repaid."
Care homes closed and two children also had to be rehomed, with one being particularly distressed, the court heard.
R2 Care Services Ltd was set up with investment from his three co directors, and taxpayer's cash via local government funding.
Rogers was earning a salary of £40,000 a year, but helped himself to funds to buy himself an Audi, and gambled around £420,000.
Rogers, 41, of Montpelier Avenue, Blackpool, had tried to hide his offending by falsifying bank statements and company spreadsheets
Prosecutors said on April 25 2019 the defendant asked other three defendants to attend a meeting in which he disclosed he had gambled and spent all of the company's money, leaving only £4 in the company account.
He showed them online betting transactions on his phone and offered to give them his phone to sell.
He also handed them a pen drive containing evidence of him hiding his offending on paperwork.
The court heard he wagered 420,000 - including £40,000 on one day and suffered £180,000 losses.
Rogers gave a prepared statement to the police admitting he was a gambling addict and apologising to his victims.
He has a previous conviction for obtaining cards in a friend's name to fund his habit.
His defence lawyer said he relapsed into his addiction following his father's death and it "snowballed because when he lost he chased the losses".
Judge Mathieson said: " What you did in dealing with your company was a sophisticated deceit, committed over a significant period of time.
"The company that had been set up funded by taxpayers through local government funding and investment from the co directors, was to provide accommodation for vulnerable children.
"Those losses could never be repaid - the losses could never be recovered by that company.
"The impact... cannot be underestimated."
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