Carphone Warehouse salesman from Forest Gate jailed for handsets thefts

A mobile phone salesman who stole dozens of handsets worth almost �10,000 from his employers to fund his drug habit has been locked up for nine months.

Saad Bhuta, 32, of Windsor Road, Forest Gate, snatched 66 devices from Carphone Warehouse over a three-month period while working at the company’s High Street Kensington branch.

Bhuta abused his position to pocket handsets he claimed had been handed over to customers as a result of an upgrade.

Southwark Crown Court heard that, after Bhuta’s arrest, police discovered he had also allowed his account to be used for money laundering.

It emerged as a result of the investigations that �19,900 which had been stolen from a Lloyds TSB account was deposited in his personal account.

Bhuta then transferred almost �5,000 into a second account in his name.

He later told police he had been talked into allowing his account to be used in return for a cut of the profit, but withdrew �4,876 when he thought he was not going to receive payment.

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Judge Stephen Robins sentenced Bhuta to nine months behind bars after he admitted charges of fraud and money laundering.

He said: “You consistently and persistently breached the trust you had as an employee at the time and carried it on for some time.

“In all circumstances, for the fraud that involved 66 phones you will go to prison for nine months.

“For the second charge of the indictment concerning some �19,900, there will be a sentence of four months, concurrent.”

The theft of the mobile phones took place between July and October 2009.

The money laundering offence took place on January 26, 2009.

The court was told Bhuta left home in his late 20s in the hope of making “his own way” but had become involved in the misuse of drugs.

He pleaded guilty to fraud and entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.