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Property salesman jailed over gambling addiction

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Property salesman jailed over gambling addiction
Photo: AFP
09:58 CET+01:00
A real estate salesman who gambled away and otherwise spent several million francs obtained from client deposits and through other fraudulent means was jailed for five years by a Lausanne court on Wednesday.

The salesman, whose name was not disclosed because of Swiss privacy laws, was found guilty of frittering away almost seven million francs ($7.6 million), partly on slot machines at casinos in Montreux, in the canton of Vaud, and in Divonne-les-Bains, France, according to media reports.

He was convicted of fraud, abuse of trust and falsifying financial documents for activities between 2009 and 2011, the 24heures daily said.

The middle-aged resident of the canton of Vaud took 2.7 million francs from his mother, who owns a real estate business, under false pretences, the 20 Minutes newspaper said.

He squandered a further four million francs taken from clients who had made deposits for property purchases, the newspaper said.

“I was caught in a spiral,” the salesman is quoted as telling the court.

He described how at the French casino he would take batches of 100 ten-euro tokens and put them in a slot machine that he would click on with a “crazy speed and I often lost”.

He added: “When I lost, I put everything at risk because I always hoped to be able to win the jackpot of more than a million euros”, according to the 20 Minutes report.

The money he took illegally ended up being spent in the casinos, to pay off debts and to defray expenses.

The man told the court he wanted treatment for his gambling problem and had requested the casinos in Montreux and Divonne ban him from entry.

His mother, who testified in the case, told the court that she categorically refused to help her son repay his debts.

“He deserves to be punished,” she said, according to 24heures.

“I will pardon him the day when he can prove to me that he is a man capable of meeting the needs of his family.”
 

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