A former high-flying head of international sales at the Norwich-based book wholesaler Bertrams, who admitted defrauding the company of £1.9m, has been warned he faces a “substantial” jail term.

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Graham Goble, 33, who was tearful as he stood in the dock, admitted fraud by abuse of position between January 2008 and March 2011 and also admitted obtaining property by deception between August 2005 and June 2007.

His case at Norwich Crown Court was adjourned for full reports until April 18, but Recorder Christopher Morgan warned him: “These are serious offences.”

He told him that he faced a “substantial” prison sentence.

His barrister Jonathan Taylor, told the court that the loss to Bertrams, which is based at the Broadland Business Park, in Thorpe St Andrew, was £1.9m but said that the personal amount which Goble gained for himself from that figure was about £650,000 - which he said was about a third of the amount involved.

Mr Taylor said that the matter had not been fraudulent from the outset and said that Goble had also used some of the money he obtained to gamble in a bid to get some of the money back.

“He gambled in a desperate attempt to retrieve the situation.”

Goble, of Station Approach, London, was arrested after Norfolk police investigated a £1.9m fraud after it was discovered an employee was “fraudulently controlling” a customer account .

The matter was highlighted after Bertrams parent company Smiths News plc released its interim financial results in April 2011 and Bertrams later announced its insurers had agreed to pay the £1.9m million loss, minus a deductible sum of £65,000.

Goble was given conditional bail and will return in April to be sentenced.

Goble joined Bertrams in 2004 and in 2011 became head of international sales . In his profile it stated that he managed Bertrams key customers, strategic growth and daily commercial activities.

Bertrams, which employs more than 400 people at its Norwich base, said at the time that news of the fraud had “shocked” everyone.

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