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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 17:41 GMT
Gambling addicts jailed for fraud
Two self-confessed gambling addicts who funded a spree at a London casino using a stolen cheque book have been jailed.

Alakasundram Prabaharan from East Ham, east London, and Gurmit Singh Multani from Maida Vale, west London, raised about 8,000 from their scam.

The cheques were taken from a book stolen from a British tourist in March last year, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Prabaharan was sentenced to 16 months and Multani to 12 months. Both men pleaded guilty to fraud.

'No excuse'

Both men claimed in mitigation they were gambling addicts.

It emerged later that Multani had also duped his wife and brothers.

He used her bank account to raise funds for a cheque that later bounced and gambled away a deposit given by his brothers to help him buy a house.

I make it clear in both your cases that whatever the truth about your gambling addiction... it is not an excuse for crime
Judge Martin Beddoe

Judge Martin Beddoe said: "I make it clear in both your cases that whatever the truth about your gambling addiction... it is not an excuse for crime."

The original owner of the cheque book Kulwant Singh, was on holiday in New Delhi, India when he was robbed at a railway station.

Two Barclays cheque books were taken. The stub of one, with no cheques left inside, was found hidden in Prabaharan's wardrobe. The second has never been found.

Police arrested Multani in May last year. He was carrying cheques paid to himself which had been rejected by the bank and returned to him. Officers found Prabaharan's fingerprints on the cheques.

Officers searched Multani's house and found a picture of the two men smiling at the Golden Nugget casino in central London.

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