A businessman who scammed a massive £736,000 with Boots gift cards in just two months has been sentenced to 33 months in prison.
Robert Bell was involved in the scam after exploiting a secret loophole.
The 37-year-old crook was able to get the cards for free by filling out an order form and asking to top them up with credit with no intention of refunding the money.
Jurors heard a postman recalling a series of “special deliveries” to Bell’s apparent cash and carry business from a large shack in a business park in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire.
Brazen Bell was eventually ambushed when he tried to get his hands on another £150,000 in gift cards.
He is now behind bars after being convicted between September and November 2017 for involvement in a fraudulent scheme against Boots.
Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the crook was behind a wholesaler called Bells of Bishopbriggs.
In her closing speech, District Attorney Hannah Terrance told the jurors, “Bell had no intention of paying for this credit.
“He took advantage of a loophole and made false pretenses as part of the fraudulent scam.”
Gift card amounts that Bell, now from the town’s Tollcross, illegally got their hands on ranged from £7,500.
Bell spent more than half a million pounds of the gift cards on 30,000 transactions.
Ms Terrance told the court: “His postman described his business premises as a cabin.
“All he could see was Bell regularly receiving special deliveries there.”
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The trial revealed that Bell eventually “came to a halt” on 27 November 2017 after an offer to get a further £150,000 in gift cards.
The huge amount was never repaid to Boots. It is also unknown what happened to the money.
Bell instead told police that he had requested the cards to give as gifts to staff and “customer encouragement.”
He claimed to have 40 employees, but the postman who made the deliveries said he saw only one person working there.
Boots initially contacted Bells when the fraud was discovered, but he never replied.
The company was able to cancel the rest of the cards because of their unique serial numbers.
David Adams, on the defensive, told the judges that Bell was unaware of the system flaw at Boots.
He added: “This was not a crime.
Boots allowed him to do this because of a mistake on their part.
“His company had cash flow problems, his customers weren’t paying him, and he couldn’t pay the suppliers, including Boots.”
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