6/3/10 – The 35-year-old former chairperson of the Chartered Institute of Taxation branch in Cumbria, UK, admitted in court this week that she diverted repayments meant for clients into her own bank accounts, and then wagered the funds playing games at online gambling sites like Betfair.
Allison Thomson of Dumphries apologised for stealing GBP186,353 to fund a gambling obsession and pleaded guilty to the fraud at the town’s sheriff court, where she was ordered to carry out community service and seek help for her addiction.
After the hearing, Thomson told reporters: “I was having personal problems and got involved in online gambling and it just escalated. I was using Betfair online mainly; playing games 24/7. It was every day of the week.”
In court Thomson admitted that over a six-month period to January last year she pretended to HM Revenue and Customs that bank accounts operated by her were authorised to receive repayments of tax to clients of her employers.
The court heard that her secret world began to unravel in late 2008 when a VAT consultant at became suspicious about a tax repayment for one of the firm’s clients. That prompted a wider review which showed Thomson had diverted money from a number of clients into her bank accounts. Police were alerted and the court heard that in March last year she made “full and frank” admissions to officers.
Sheriff George Jamieson said he was satisfied there were very exceptional circumstances and was prepared to place Thomson on probation for three years.