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A Post Office worker abused his position so he could steal more than £13,000 from three elderly and disabled customers.
Benjamin Rainbow is today waking up behind bars after admitting he targeted vulnerable victims to fund his spiralling gambling addiction.
The 34-year-old, who was jailed for 16 months, worked as a financial specialist – offering advice on mortgages and financial products – from a room at the post office in Poulton, when he took the opportunity to help himself to the pensioners’ cash.
Preston Crown court heard his first victim, an 83-year-old woman, had asked him to help her cash a cheque for £23,000 as she did not want anyone to know she had come into the money.
Rainbow agreed to withdraw cash from her account and deposit it into a safe at her home.
But after the full sum had been withdrawn, the court heard Rainbow, of Roseway, Poulton contacted the pensioner telling her there had been a theft from his office at the branch and £10,000 had been taken.
The victim complained to the Post Office and an investigation was launched.
Rainbow’s second victim, a 73-year-old man, asked Rainbow to help him open an Individual Savings Account (ISA) for his wife.
He gave Rainbow £3,400 cash to deposit but when the victim’s wife went to withdraw the money she discovered there was only £100 in her account.
When the victim approached Rainbow to ask what had happened to the money, the financial adviser told the pensioner it had gone “into a black hole”, the court was told.
Rainbow’s third victim, a elderly female pensioner, visited the branch to open an account for her brother.
She had £500 in cash but Rainbow told her she would need £1,000 to open the account she had chosen. The court heard the victim – who had access to her brother’s accounts – withdrew a further £600 to open the account, but when the first statement arrived it showed just £500 had been paid in. Rainbow was arrested on March 12 and told police he had been stupid to agree to help in the way that he had.
He said he had collected £10,000 but the money had gone missing from his office. The prosecution said Rainbow had been in the grips of a gambling addiction at the time he committed the offences and had difficulties with drink, drugs and his mental health.
Since his arrest he has lost his job and his marriage has broken down, the court heard.Judge Mark Brown, sentencing, said: “I would be failing in my public duty if I didn’t impose on you today an immediate prison sentence.”
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