Gambling with other people’s money is something that can be considered an outright no-no, so to speak. After all, it amounts to theft, which is against the law, and using it for gambling amounts to you also having a problem with addiction. But that doesn’t mean to say people haven’t been caught for engaging in such criminal activity before. In fact, throughout history, people have stolen money from others to use for their gambling participation. And the likelihood is that some people have done it and not been caught.
We’re here to take a look at some instances of this happening and delve even further into the outcomes of times when people stole money from others and used it for gambling purposes. Let’s find out how these situations ended and how much money was involved in them.
A Japanese Man Makes Off With COVID-19 Relief Funds
It’s a sad situation when even money saved up to aid with the relief of impacts from the worldwide pandemic isn’t secure. But in one of the most recent instances, that is very much the case. A recent story broke regarding a man in Japan who had taken the saved-up funds in his town and spent them all on gambling activity.
It was The Guardian which recently reported on the story, which saw the man mistakenly sent a total of ¥46.3 million – equating to roughly £287,000. Those COVID-19 relief funds were sent to him in April of 2022 as part of a programme designed by the local government to help residents who were having financial difficulties due to the pandemic’s effects. The 24-year-old was also supposed to receive his share of the funds – ¥100,000 (£621) – but the town of Abu accidentally wired all of the money that was intended to be split between the 463 low-income households there to him.
The local officials realised that they had made the mistake and filed a lawsuit on May 12, looking for the immediate return of the COVID-19 relief money as well as legal costs involved. Apparently unable to contact the recipient of the funds initially, he later found and agreed to return it. However, he then went on to claim that it had all been moved from his bank account. Official records displayed that he had withdrawn all of the money between April 8 and 21, and his lawyer went on to state that he had gambled all ¥46.3 million at online casino sites via his mobile device.
His actions were described as “unforgivable” by the mayor of Abu, Norihiko Hamada, but said that the town would put the best effort into recovering the funds. Speaking on behalf of the guilty party, lawyers suggested that the parties involved were attempting to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, legal experts commented that it is unlikely that the town will be able to recoup those losses.
That being said, the reports from within Japan said that ¥100,000 has been delivered to each of the households which missed out on the original payments.
A £70,000 Gambling Addiction Results in Theft from Workplace
It’s one thing to be mistakenly sent money (and then not give it back), but it’s quite another to steal funds that belong to someone else for a gambling habit. Of course, addiction can lead people to all sorts of things, and theft was the route that problem gambler Danielle took.
She was in her late teens when she became hooked on gambling, beginning with a simple £20 bet which led to her winning a payout of £1,000. It didn’t take long for her to become obsessed with playing gambling games, and before long, Danielle was utilising the money from her student loan, eating into her bank account overdraft and making use of her mobile phone bill to engage in the activity.
“I was in a bad place, and it filled an emptiness in my life. People assume everyone does it to win money or for the excitement, but it stopped me feeling lonely and anxious”, she said.
The turning point for Danielle came in 2020, which is when she stated that she had started stealing money from her place of employment. The amount she had pilfered from her job was around £70,000 by the time she was confronted over the missing funds. “It actually felty like a massive weight off my shoulders to admit it and accept that I needed help”, she commented.
She lost her job and admitted to theft and false accounting in court in early 2021. The judge gave her a suspended jail sentence and a total of 175 hours of community service as punishment. Danielle has also received counselling and support from her family since coming clean.
Fraudulent Activity At A Veterinary Clinic
It’s one thing to be get involved in a gambling game or betting practice that, if you win, pays out real money. Yet it’s quite another to spend real money on a gambling game that, when you form wins, doesn’t pay out anything at all. Yet that is seemingly what happened to one woman in Australia, who ended up using in excess of quarter of a million dollars for her addiction.
Rachel Naomi Perri actually stole in excess of A$940,000 (£535,725) from a veterinary clinic in Hobart, the capital city of Australia’s island state of Tasmania. The money she took was utilised to fund her addiction to a Facebook gambling game. As well as the money taken from the clinic, she racked up a massive debt of A$24,218.08 (£13,805) on a credit card that was also obtained fraudulently.
After being found out, the 48-year-old Perri was jailed for six years in December of 2021, with 475 fraudulent transactions being noted from her employer, the Tasmanian Veterinary Services, in the period between 2016 and 2019. Although she appealed against the length of the conviction, that was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal in March of 2022.
It was on the Facebook gambling game known as Heart of Vegas that she spent the stolen money on. Playing it involved purchasing virtual coins or credits, and these are never able to be converted into real money at any point. According to Perri’s lawyer, she would set the game up so that it would play automatically for her overnight, and then wake up in the morning and continue with it.
Lawyers for the Crown said that Perri had committed serious fraud over a prolonged length of time, utilising what was described as a sophisticated degree of planning and deceit. It was made clear that Perri only stopped offending once her position was made redundant and reiterated that the jail sentence she had received was very much within the range available upon initially being handed out by the judge.
Employment Theft from Surgeries to Fund Gambling Addiction
Towards the end of 2021, a story broke about a man who was described as a “hard-working” and “talented” GP. But underneath that veil, Rumi Chhapia was involved in outright theft, stealing a total of £1.1 million from his own GP practices as a way of gambling his way through his own financial issues.
Over a 41-day period in 2020, Chhapia stole £1,133,704.50 from the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance Limited (PPCA) after volunteering to become the manager of the group’s finances in August of the same year. The person originally in charge of that area had been signed off sick. Unfortunately, due to a combination of gambling addiction, high tax bills and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chhapia was struggling at the time. Having already re-mortgaged his house, lost his personal car and being in debt with his friends and family to the tune of £325,000, he turned to his GP practices.
It was then that the doctor started transferring money from his company’s account into his own bank account, as a way of paying for roulette games and online slot machine titles. This led to him gambling away a total of £2.5 million before he managed to recoup £1.2 million. Of that, he took £238,000 to repay PPCA with, but continued to gamble.
Even though Chhapia’s colleagues questioned him over the missing money, he continued pilfering, when the funds should have gone to the 16 surgeries that PPCA runs in the city of Hampshire. The gambling companies involved later agreed to refund the remaining £900,004 in order to make up for the rest of the stolen money.
The director of PPCA, Mark Swindells, said that some of his employees required counselling, as they weren’t able to “come to terms” with what the GP had done. Chhapia himself sobbed through his hearing and was said to be “deeply remorseful” over his actions during the six-week timeframe he committed the theft.
Workplace Theft Mum Who Lost Average of £1K Per Day
Midway through 2020, a single mum was reported as having stolen £35,000 a month from her workplace to be able to feed her gambling addiction. Leanne Gouldthorpe ended up amassing a total of £346,000, which she took as an accounts employee at a logistics firm based in North East Lincolnshire company over a 10-month period.
At the peak of her gambling activity, Leanne was losing an average of over £1,000 every day through betting, which was said to occur most commonly online. The fact that she stole so much money from the logistics company left it with serious problems, especially with the influx of effects felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the time.
In court, Leanne was described as a caring single parent to a boy of eight, and she had been his sole carer due to her partner leaving her when she was pregnant with him. Yet she was jailed for two years and eight months, despite a plea that she be handed a suspended sentence instead due to her circumstances. She admitted to the fraud and false accounting accusations, having tried to cover her tracks by falsifying the accounts records for VAT payments.
Initially, she borrowed money from family members and friends, but lost their trust in her due to the gambling habits she had picked up after meeting someone who introduced her to it as a pastime. She naively believed that she would be able to pay the money back to her friends, family and workplace by gambling online, but according to the mitigator Andrew Bailey, “she was, frankly, unaware of how much she had taken”.
Roofer Takes Deposits from Customers To Gamble
In May of 2022, it was determined that Leon David Mann of Pilgrims Way, Gainsborough be handed a 16-month suspended sentence and fined at Lincoln Crown Court. After a nine-month investigation by Lincolnshire Trading Standards, it had been discovered that Mr Mann had committed 12 offences under the Fraud Act 2006.
Complaints were raised with the Trading Standards group regarding Mann and his company known as Gainsborough Roofing. According to the complaints, 50% deposits were taken upfront on jobs, equating to amounts of between £500 and £2,750, with no work being carried out afterwards. Mann claimed that the deposits were taken so that he and his team could purchase materials and secure start dates on the jobs required. However, Trading Standards discovered that as soon as the deposits were paid out to Mann’s bank account, he utilised the money to play games at online gambling sites. When the victims tried contacting him after he didn’t turn up to proceed with the requested work, they were given various excuses as to why it hadn’t happened, including personal illness, adverse weather, vehicle problems and the effects of the pandemic.
Some of the victim described Mr Mann as being very charming when they first met him, but when they had to start chasing after him for the work, he became highly aggressive. In one situation, Mann took £2,000 from a family as a deposit to fix their leaking house roof. Subsequently, he failed to carry out the necessary work, and one of the house occupants was going through cancer treatment. The family contacted Mann on numerous occasions over an eight-week period during winter, agreeing on new start dates for the roofing work, which were then also missed and caused undue extra stress. He then agreed to refund the deposit at a later date, but it never came.
Mann was eventually ordered to pay compensation equating to £9,410 within six months, and ordered to pay an extra £2,500 to the prosecution within 12 months. Yet he never had to suffer any time in jail, thanks to the suspended sentence of two years.