A MAN whose gambling addiction spiralled out of control defrauded a friend and his Warrington finance business out of £500,000.

Peter Saad, from Nottingham, lied to his friend that he has cancer and made up a variety of stories to get the cash to pay off loan sharks and other loan companies.

The 32-year-old was jailed at Chester Crown Court last Monday after admitting three counts of fraud by false representation.

Between September 2018 and May 2019 he convinced his friend, who is the chairman and chief executive of an investments and credit group in Warrington to hand over large sums of money for fictitious projects.

The court heard he began by fabricating a story about his family struggling to meet their mortgage repayments due to a pharmacy they purchased in the USA.

He then made up a story about having had a loan from a prominent member of an American church member to help pay for the pharmacy in America.

When he became short of funds he lied to his friend that he had cancer and forged emails and invented scans and operations which he needed money to pay for.

As Saad continued with his falsehoods, he convinced the victim to set up a pharmaceutical company with Saad as one of the directors. He forged invoices to obtain money for work that would never be carried out and for equipment he’d already bought for half the price. This is when the victim’s finance staff became suspicious and his lies began to unravel.

An invoice was checked with a company who confirmed they had never been asked to carry out work for him and the enormity of his deception began to be realised, with the cost to the victim’s loss increasing as each lie was uncovered. Police were called in and the investigation began, with Saad fully admitting his guilt.

He was jailed for 19 months.

Speaking after the case, DC Lee Ellis said: “Saad hoodwinked his friends, family and business associates with elaborate lies to fund his gambling habit and his debts. He abused the trust placed in him and is now paying the price for his crimes, leaving those who thought they knew him not only out of pocket by hundreds of thousands, but also feeling betrayed and hurt by his actions.”

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire Police said: “This case highlights just what can happen when an addiction gets out of control, whether its drugs, gambling or alcohol. We want people to admit their addictions before it’s too late so they can get the help they need and support from their family and friends. That’s why I am committed to funding charities, which help those in need in our communities and why I would urge those in crisis never to suffer in silence.”