No immediate jail term for Kesgrave man who ran gambling syndicate

Darren Hudson-Wood

Darren Hudson-Wood - Credit: Su Anderson

A Kesgrave man who ran an unlicensed gambling syndicate which resulted in 13 of his customers losing £30,000 has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him straight to prison.

Darren Hudson Wood initially ran a tipping service but then set up an unlicensed betting pots system whereby customers would give him money and he would make bets on their behalf, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

However, despite guaranteeing he wouldn’t make any losses he had made some big losses which he couldn’t make up out of his own money, said Petr Gair, prosecuting.

Instead of being up front with his customers Hudson Wood had lied to them by telling them they had won and were making a lot of money when they were in fact losing.

“He continued to accept money from his customers and over a four month period the money he took from them was under false pretences,” said Mr Gair.

Attempts were made by customers to get money from Hudson-Wood and although he made some repayments he was forced into bankruptcy in 2014 after he was reported to Action Fraud and the police became involved.

Hudson-Wood, 35, of Penryn Road, Kesgrave, admitted 13 charges of fraud by false representation between February and May 2013.

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The prosecution initially claimed the fraud involved a much larger sum but eventually accepted Hudson-Wood’s basis of plea that it only amounted to £30,000.

Judge Martyn Levett gave Hudson-Wood a 22 month jail term suspended for 24 months and ordered him to do 150 hours unpaid work in the community.

After hearing he had no assets he made a nominal £1 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Roger Thomson for Hudson-Wood said his client’s activities weren’t fraudulent from the outset and he had run a successful business.

However, he accepted there was a point when rather than being up front with his customers he had tried to trade his way out of difficulty. He said his client accepted he could have done things differently and was remorseful. He said Hudson-Wood had repaid £15,809 before he was made bankrupt and there was now an outstanding balance of £14,191.

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