2 Year Jail Sentence for Gambling Addict Who Stole $420K

Val Gillette by Val Gillette Published: January 20, 2021 Reading time: 2min
Gambling Addict Sentenced

A gambling addict and former claims adjuster for the ICBC has been sentenced to two years in prison after it emerged that he stole over $420,000 from the company.

According to reports, Paul Martin Punter, 31, deposited phony cheques in order to feed his gambling addiction. He pleaded guilty to the charge of theft for over $5,000 but North Vancouver provincial court heard that the former ICBC insurance adjuster defrauded the corporation for over $420,000 and he was sentenced to two years in jail.

Punter was according to a statement read by Crown counsel Peter Campbell, hired as a claims adjuster by ICBC in January 2017 and over a two-year period from August 14, 2017, and July 28, 2019, he fraudulently issued 156 cheques. These cheques were issued on active claims for the reimbursement of expenses that didn't exist. Punter used a mobile app to deposit the cheques into his own TD Canada Trust bank account. It was only when he applied for a mortgage with TD in August of 2019 that a bank employee noticed a number of third-party cheques being digitally deposited into his account. When Punter was questioned about this matter, he claimed they were reimbursements for business expenses and that he hadn't paid any attention to the fact that he was not the payee named on these cheques.

TD didn't buy the explanation and put a hold on Punter's accounts. An investigation ensued and the bank notified ICBC. The insurance company discovered that all the cheques had been issued by Punter using his adjuster number and been printed on Punter's office printer. His bank records also showed purchases through Playnow.com, British Columbia's provincially run online casino and sports betting site. The amounts of the purchases varied from $100 to $2,000. In August 2018, Punter spend $52,570 at PlayNow owned by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

Further investigations found that Punter placed bets of up to $2,000 at the site and the money he had stolen from ICBC went to fund his gambling addiction.

Punter and his wife were arrested by RCMP on the 1st of October 2019 at their Richmond home and Punter confessed to everything. Punter's wife knew nothing of his gambling addition until after the arrest. Punter told her their bank accounts had been frozen because of a compromised credit card and that he'd been laid off from ICBC.

Two Year Prison Sentence and Possible Deportation For Gambling Addict

A report submitted to the North Vancouver principal court by a counsellor, and read out before sentencing stated that Punter's family had struggled with poverty while he was growing up. His father managed a betting shop in the UK and Punter often spent time with him betting on sport. His father had gambling problems. The counsellor also stated in the report that it was clear Punter suffered from a severe gambling addiction. His sentence took this into consideration.

Punter, sentenced to two years in jail for his gambling addiction and theft may also face the likelihood of being deported back to England after serving his sentence. In tearful remorse, while addressing the court, Punter apologized and said, "I couldn't be more disappointed in myself. There are no words to describe how terrible I feel."

Gambling took over this man's life and ruined it. In addition to his jail sentence, Punter has been ordered to pay back $8,700 owed to ICBC and the $356,000 owed to TD Canada Trust. He has been given 20 years to pay it.

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