ONLINE GAMBLER FACES CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR FRAUD

Published on March 12, 2014 in Industry News

A UK woman is facing a year in jail after allegedly using her employer's bank account to fund her online gambling habit to the tune of £65,000.

The woman, identified as 28-year-old Joanne Sharp, allegedly worked as a parish council clerk since 2009. This position provided her with access to the council's bank account.

The money that was taken reportedly equated to a year's income for the group. She reportedly repaid a sum of £9,000, but £56,000 remains unpaid, forcing the council to take out a loan.

Sharp reportedly admitted to the fraudulent act, which is said to have fueled her online gambling habit. Peterborough Crown Court prosecutors reportedly served up evidence to support the allegations.

A defence attorney for Sharp said that the now-former council clerk regretted her actions. Sharp's defence attorney also indicated that she had apparently taken the money in an attempt to use online gambling to raise money that would allow her to leave a controlling husband and pay off debts. Sharp has reportedly admitted to having an addiction to online gambling.

It's said that the case unfolded in late May 2013, when the parish council's bank contacted the council chairman concerning a check that had allegedly been forged by Sharp. An investigation ensued and authorities reportedly discovered a total of nine additional forged checks, in addition to fraudulent bank statements that were apparently crafted to hide her alleged crimes.

Sharp's defense attorney sought leniency and a suspended sentence, claiming that her actions had resulted in lots of negative consequences, including unemployment, a ruined reputation and a failed marriage. But Court Recorder Angela Rafferty called Sharp's act of fraud as “blatant” and “outrageous,” adding that “this offence is so serious, only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”

Sharp violated one of the cardinal rules of online gambling. That is, individuals should never gamble with money they cannot afford to lose and online gambling should never be used as a fundraising method.