Friday February 15,2013 : UK BOOKKEEPER STOLE OVER GBP 160,000 TO FUND ONLINE GAMBLING HABIT
 
Audit and police investigations uncover fraudulent behaviour
 
A 45-year-old bookkeeper in the UK has been convicted in the Maidstone Crown Court of stealing a total of over GBP 160,000 from two companies at which she was employed in order to fund her attraction to online gambling.
 
Karen Knowles was charged with making overpayments to herself totalling more than GBP 70,000 at the White Horse Leisure company, and of helping herself to another GBP 90,000 whilst working for the UK Paper Leisure Club in a series of fraudulent acts over several years.
 
The account anomalies were discovered during an audit.
 
Knowles admitted 10 offences of fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to 18 months in jail by Judge Charles Byers this week.
 
Keith Yardy, prosecuting, said Knowles had covered up her wrongful activity at White Horse by recording the amounts she took as having been paid to regular contractors.
 
"Your employer had to stop paying herself wages to keep the company afloat and cover losses…", Judge Byers noted.
 
Police investigations in the White Horse case led them to the second victim, UK Paper Leisure Club, where further unlawful conduct had been exposed dating from the period March 2007 to October 2010, the prosecutor said.
 
Knowles also had previous convictions for similar offences in 1986 and 1991, the court was told.
 
Judge Byers said Knowles had systematically stolen over five years. It was a long and persistent fraud at White Horse Leisure from an employer who had befriended her.
 
"I have seen an impact statement which tells me your employer had to stop paying herself wages to keep the company afloat and cover losses," he said.
 
"The company was slipping into debt as a result of your actions. You gave no thought as to the impact of your crime on others.
 
"At the end of the day, this was a matter you knew was going on and did nothing to try to prevent. I appreciate you had problems in your life. I have taken that into account."
 
The judge added: "It must be clearly understood that those who steal form their employers must be punished."
 
Reports on the case did not reveal the identity of the online gambling sites used by Knowles.