A Coventry man has been sentenced to a year in prison after stealing £10,000 from his father-in-law and spending it on gambling and drinking.

Satjinder Pooni, aged 37, of Shakespeare Street, Stoke, had pleaded guilty to one count of theft in April and failed to appear at Coventry Crown Court on Monday.

He was sentenced by the judge in his absence.

Judge Philip Gregory said Pooni had been given plenty of opportunity to pay back the money and he could no longer prolong the case.

He said: “Sentencing was previously adjourned for him (Pooni) to have the time to honour a promise he made to the court that he would re-pay the money he had stolen.

“He hasn’t paid the money and has deliberately left the court so I will sentence in his absence.”

The court heard that in 2004 Pooni persuaded his then father-in-law to put £50,000 towards an investment scheme.

The scheme eventually turned out to be a fraudulent one and Pooni lost his money. On those behind the scheme being prosecuted, £10,000 of the money was returned to Pooni.

Instead of handing it to his father-in-law he spent it on gambling, socialising, alcohol and put some of it towards a house.

Prosecuting, Matthew Barnes, said: “Rather than pay it back to his then father-in-law, he simply spent it as he chose.

“On the break-up of his marriage in 2010 police were made aware of the theft and he was arrested.”

In interview, Pooni claimed the money had been spent with the consent of his ex-wife and her father.

Talbir Singh, defending, said : “This is now an historic incident. It occurred eight years ago and the matrimonial disharmony between him and his former wife had some bearing on the decision to make a complaint about the loss of money in 2010.

“This was not a sophisticated, premeditated theft…when some of the money was returned to him he ought to have returned it to his father-in-law, but he didn’t.”

Mr Singh added that Pooni had attended court but left “because he didn’t want to face the sentencing exercise”.

Pooni was sentenced to 12 months custody which he will begin serving once he is arrested.

Judge Gregory added: “This defendant was the cause of his father-in-law investing £50,000 in a fraudulent scheme.

“When some of it miraculously returned into his account any right thinking person would have felt relief about it and returned it. Instead he spent it.

“This was a substantial amount of money to steal from his father-in-law who trusted him out of love for his daughter.”

A proceeds of crime hearing will be held in October to reclaim some of the money from Pooni.

Read the full story courtesy of Coventry Telegraph.