A FORMER mobile phone salesman has narrowly escaped jail for creating dozens of fake customers to make himself more than £13,000.
Over a five-month period Alexander Papadatos made up 46 fake customers at the 3 Store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth and allocated them free upgrades of high-end phones.
He would then sell them on to his friends or through internet auction website eBay, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.
Papadatos, of Albion Close in Portchester, had started the scam when he got into debt.
The 21-year-old was caught out after an internal audit.
He had pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing.
Judge Roger Hetherington sentenced Papadatos to a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.
He ordered him to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and repay £6,000 to his former employer.
Judge Hetherington said: ‘I accept that you are fully remorseful for what has happened. For some reason you have got it into your head you could live a higher lifestyle and get rid of some debt, but you now realise the folly of that.
‘I do believe you have learnt your lesson.’