Justin Leigh stole money from his employment to pay off gangsters after his father racked up a £40,000 debt, Hamilton Sheriff Court heard today.
After his father racked up gambling debts to brutal Chinese gangsters, a worker who stole £40,000 from a catering company in Lanarkshire was spared jail.
In an effort to pay off triads, Justin Leigh, 45, pocketed thousands over a five-year period. The entire family was relocated from Swindon to Scotland and given new identities because authorities feared their lives were in danger after his dad incurred “substantial” debt. However, the gambling addiction came back, and when the organized criminal organization got to Scotland, they started an intimidation campaign against the family.
Vietnamese-born Leigh, who was in a panic, started stealing money from his employer, Scotch Frost of Glasgow Ltd., to try to stave off the criminals. His fraud was discovered when it was discovered that money was disappearing from the company’s base in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, and that it had been linked to his bank account. Leigh of Clarkston appeared in court and confessed to stealing £40,000 from the company between February 2014 and February 2019.
Sheriff Colin Dunipace tagged the first offender for the following six months and mandated that he work 300 hours of unpaid labor. Leigh, who is currently employed at a restaurant, was initially accused of pocketing £60,000; however, the prosecution accepted his guilty plea to the lower sum. The defense attorney, Ali Murray, stated: “His father’s debts, who was involved in gambling and had racked up debts with triads, were the driving force behind this.
“Police in England and the Crown Prosecution Service took the situation so seriously that his entire family had to be relocated from Swindon to Scotland with new identities and national insurance cards. However, the father became involved in gambling once more, and this is an instance of history repeating itself. Justin Leigh and his family were threatened by these gang of people when they arrived in Scotland, which is when Mr. Leigh began taking money from his company and delivering it to this group of people instead.
The lawyer advocate continued: “It seemed all but certain that he would be apprehended. “Despite the amount of money involved, I would be requesting the court to refrain from imposing what could be a hefty jail sentence because he is remorseful.” Lawman Dunipace said: “It appears that there is little prospect that your employer will be able to recover any of the money that you were involved in embezzling from them. “Cases like these usually result in jail sentences, but given the peculiar nature of the situation here, I can simply opt against imposing one in this instance.” A triad is a global organized crime organization with its headquarters in China that also conducts business in regions with sizable Chinese populations.