Member of Warwick-based medical company’s finance team escapes jail after starting to repay more than £30,000 he stole

A member of a medical imaging company’s finance team has escaped being jailed after a judge heard he has already repaid more than £3,000 of the £30,000-plus he stole.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 12:45 pm

And the judge was told that an agreement had been reached with the Warwick-based company which will see Robert Chamberlain paying back the full amount by January 2023.

Chamberlain had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to fraud while in a position of trust at Alliance Medical Ltd, which is based at Warwick Technology Park in Gallows Hill, Warwick.

But at a hearing in May sentence was deferred by Judge Sylvia de Bertodano for him to show he meant his promise to repay the money he had taken to fund a gambling addiction.

Robert Chamberlain

At the resumed hearing, she recapped: “I said I would suspend it without conditions if he paid at least £3,000 within the period I set out.”

And Andrew Tucker, defending, said Chamberlain (31) of William Kirby Close, Tile Hill, Coventry, had so far paid back £3,742 and was now making regular payments of £750 a month.

“Continuing at £750 a month, by January 2023 he will have repaid the whole amount he stole,” Mr Tucker calculated.

Sentencing Chamberlain to 16 months in prison suspended for two years, Judge de Bertodano told him: “You have done what I asked you to do. I will keep my side of the deal.”

During the original hearing prosecutor Ian Speed said Chamberlain had been a member of the finance team at Alliance Medical, which provides private medical imaging services.

Between March and November last year he used his position to put through 48 refunds to people who had paid for MRI scans but were members of private medical schemes.

In fact the payments totalling £32,742 were being paid into his own bank account.

But the company’s financial director became suspicious about the unusually high number of refunds relating to MRI scans.

When she challenged Chamberlain, he admitted what he had been doing, and was dismissed, and the police were contacted.

Following his arrest, Chamberlain made full admissions, explaining that he had taken the money because of a gambling addiction.

Mr Speed added that Chamberlain, who had no previous convictions, had entered into an agreement with Alliance Medical to pay the money back.

Charles Crinion, defending at that hearing, said: “This offence was committed because of the gambling addiction which is dealt with in the pre-sentence report.

“It is now under control, and he has been receiving professional treatment from Gamcare, and is going to meetings which are held twice a week in Coventry.”

Mr Crinion said Chamberlain, who now had another job, taking home around £2,000 a month, had been paying back £25 a week, and by that time had repaid £500 of what he stole.

Judge de Bertodano questioned why he had been repaying so little, in view of his income.

After speaking to Chamberlain, Mr Crinion said he had a young son, but his relationship with his ex-partner had ended, partly because of the offence and his gambling addiction.

He was now living with his parents, and although he had been contributing to his ex-partner’s home, he would be able to pay £500-700 a month, the judge was told.

Judge de Bertodano responded: “I want some guarantee that that is going to happen. I’m going to defer sentence for six months so he can show me that is what he’s going to do.

“The sentence I consider appropriate is 16 months after his guilty plea. When he comes back, I need him to show me he has paid back at least £3,000.

“If he can show me that, I will suspend the sentence; if he is not able to show me that, it will be immediate,” she warned.