An external contractor working for Nottingham Tramlink swindled nearly £60,000 to pay towards gambling losses and to pay off credit card debts that were spiralling out of control.
The 43-year-old left the army, his marriage broke down, he lost his friends, had to move house and started gambling.
Paul Cooksey, of Keyworth, was charged with fraud by abuse of position and two counts of retaining wrongful credit and sentenced to two years behind bars at Nottingham Crown Court, suspended for two years, as well as a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
The charges relate to 23 transactions, causing a loss of more than £50,000 to Tramlink.
The fraud involved season-ticket funds from private companies or individuals under Tramlink’s Tram2Work scheme and was initially uncovered by the company as part of its internal processes.
In addition, he also retained wrongful credit meant for Tramlink, totalling £9,905 over two occasions between August and September 2019.
The former Project Coordinator worked as an external contractor for the company from 2014 up until March 2019.
Detective Constable Nicola Watson, of Nottinghamshire Police, led the investigation. She said: “This was a significant amount of money which Paul Cooksey stole for his own selfish gain. He was a trusted member of staff but he abused and exploited his position.
“His gambling debt spiralled out of control and he repeatedly tried to hide what he was doing but he knew it would catch up with him.
“He was well aware he had no right to the money and I am glad he pleaded guilty. The evidence against him was overwhelming.
“There are organisations out there who can help should you find yourself struggling with addiction. I hope this case sends a clear message to those who believe they can abuse their position for their own financial gain that offences will be uncovered and investigated and offenders will be brought before the courts.”
Andrew Conroy, chief operating officer of Tramlink, said: “This is a highly regrettable incident and I’d like to reassure people that this fraud does not relate to any public money. It was season-ticket funds which we should have received from private companies or individuals under Tramlink’s Tram2Work scheme.
“We have honoured all affected season tickets and no passengers have therefore personally suffered or been disadvantaged by these matters.
“A full review of internal processes has been undertaken following this investigation and measures have been put in place to ensure it does not happen again.”