Sunday 19 May 2024
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Nottingham

Man jailed after stealing grandfather’s £60,000 savings to fund gaming habit

A man has been jailed after he stole his grandfather’s life savings to fund his addiction to mobile gaming.

Jamie Cross, aged 37, fraudulently transferred £60,300 over the space of a year and spent it on hundreds of in-game purchases, also called microtransactions.

Such purchases can provide a tactical advantage to the gameplay and typically include extra lives, character upgrades and new weapons.

Cross, of Mansfield Woodhouse, spent nearly all his grandfather’s savings after becoming addicted to playing games on his phone during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He accessed his grandfather’s money after setting up a banking app on his behalf to help him make online purchases during lockdown.

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However, Cross used the app to transfer huge sums into his own account to fund his spiralling addiction.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he carried out the fraudulent transactions between 3 December 2020 and 10 December 2021.

Cross was found out when his grandfather noticed his accounts were severely depleted.

When interviewed by detectives, Cross admitted his offending, explaining that he started by spending £100 on the odd occasion but this soon grew to over £1,000 a day as his addition became worse.

He also told officers he took up gaming as it was a release for him following a relationship break-up.

He was jailed for two years on 12 September after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Chris Underwood, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Fraud Investigation unit, urged people to heed the warning signs of gaming addiction so that they do not fall into crime.

He said:

“This is a very sad case. Cross helped himself to his grandfather’s hard-earned savings and, by his own admittance, frivolously spent these savings on games within a matter of months.

“It was a serious breach of trust and Cross is rightly now facing the consequences of his actions.

“During his police interview, Cross stated that he thought he had spent around £40,000 on mobile games. When it was put to him that the figure was in fact more than £60,000, he was visibly shocked.

“This is yet another example of how the cycle of addiction can lead to individuals resorting to illicit means to fund their habit. That’s why it is important anyone who feels they may have a gaming addiction – or any other kind of addiction that could result in criminal behaviour – seeks help.

“There are ways to prevent gaming addiction, which include recognising the warning signs and monitoring your online activity if and when you’re worried.”

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