A SUPERVISOR at roadside chain Little Chef is facing jail after stealing £700,000 from the eatery to pay off gambling debts, a court has heard.
Yiuman Poon, 48, used a credit card payment machine at the Dreghorn Link branch to transfer huge sums into two bank accounts in just one afternoon.
The total value of the theft would cover the cost of buying every man, woman and child in Dundee a Little Chef standard breakfast – 140,281 meals at £4.99 each.
Poon created a window for the daring scam by telling colleagues not to come to work on November 13 last year because an electrical fault with machines at the restaurant would prevent it from opening.
His elaborate ploy was uncovered when he forgot to inform one worker who turned up to find it deserted – and a refund receipt for £458,000 lying on the floor.
Police investigations revealed the money had been transferred into Poon’s bank account, while another £242,000 had been also been lodged in a second account on the same day.
Officers quickly froze the bank accounts but the following morning, when they swooped on his flat in Seafield Road, the fraudster escaped out of his living room window, shimmying 100ft down a drainpipe before jumping on to a tree. He spent eight days on the run before handing himself into police and confessing.
Poon pleaded guilty to a fraud charge at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.
Depute procurator fiscal Isobel Clark told the court: “The officers knocked on his door but he refused to answer and then jumped out of a window in his property.
“It was a top floor flat and he made his way 100ft down a drainpipe to make good his escape.
“He was carrying a rucksack with him and left the rucksack behind on a tree. The rucksack was recovered and found to contain evidence of numerous transactions by the accused.”
Ms Clark said that while on the run, Poon tried to withdraw the cash from two different banks but staff told him the cash had been frozen.
Poon then gave himself up at Gayfield Police station and confessed to committing the crime because he had to pay off gambling debts.
Ms Clark said: “He admitted to police that this was the most desperate thing he had ever done. He admitted that he had a gambling addiction. He made full admissions regarding his involvement in the fraud.”
Sheriff Noble deferred sentence on Poon until next month for background reports to be drawn up. The sheriff warned Poon to expect to be sent to prison for the offence.