Gambling Website Addiction Ends in £300k Fraud!
This morning a young lady is going into Court - what started as a visit to gambling websites has ended in a £300k fraud, losing her job, losing her local connections, losing her long-standing family reputation and now, potentially, losing her freedom.
Jacqueline Balaam, of Cambridge, worked as a Finance Officer at Pembroke College, Cambridge and, over the course of a few years, worked out how to fiddle the accounts and obtain over £285,000 to pay for her gambling addiction. Arrested in January 2014, it wasn't until November 2014 that she appeared in the Magistrates Court. From there the case has been escalated to the Crown Court - and Jacqui Balaam is due in court this morning to answer those charges.
The charges against her are two counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting. But it wasn't just Pembroke College, Cambridge, that she managed to rip off, she was also the Treasurer of her local village social club, where she managed to misdirect £3,200 of Club funds.
Jacqui was well connected locally, with a good family who had lived in the area for many years. Jacqui was a darts player, regularly performing well in the local darts league too. I suspect her addiction started with a few harmless coins in the gambling machines in pubs while waiting for her turn to throw the darts. The Internet and gambling websites managed to take that to a new level.
So, today's Judgement Day - and I wish her well. She shouldn't have done what she did, but she started off as a decent person, a decent person who found a way to pay for her gambling addiction in an unorthodox, illegal, manner - probably swearing to herself each time that she'd just do it one more time to clear her debts, then never again. The trouble was, she obviously wasn't cut out for a career as a gambler.
It's now down to the Jury if she will serve time, or what the outcome will be.
All the best Jacqui, to you and your family, through these difficult days.
Image Credit » Ben Harris [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsNONE http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cambridge_Crown_Court_-_geograph.org.uk_-_732666.jpg