UK Woman Jailed for £1.5million Fraud to Fund Gambling Habit

UK Woman Jailed for £1.5million Fraud to Fund Gambling Habit

16 Oct

A 53-year-old English woman has been jailed for almost 5 years after stealing close to £1.5million ($1.68million) from her employer over 10 years to fund her gambling habit…

Karen Brailsford, 53, of Rotherham, admitted to defrauding Clay Cross firm Urban Design and Development Limited (UDDL) from March 2012 until February 2021.

Of her total haul of £1,419,363, some £298,000 was spent on a gambling website, with £44,000 spent on caravan holiday homes, and £165,000 sent to family and friends.

Brailsford, employed on an annual salary of just £21,000, was given the responsibilities and trust of a finance manager. This allowed her to manipulate invoices, changing payment details to one of 11 NatWest bank accounts.

The fraudster managed to pay herself £300,000 in 2017 using this method, with another £279,000 in 2020, and sums of up to £179,000 in other years.

Her scamming eventually came to an end in February 2021 when a concerned employee at a UDDL supplier became suspicious.

The prosecutor in the case, Mr. Plant explained:

“In February 2021 the defendant sent an email from her personal account to one of the company’s suppliers, requesting a return. She indicated a false payment had been made and requested the money be returned. When the defendant requested the return the bank details were her own.”

This slip-up saw her confronted by UDDL directors the following day, with Brailsford eventually confessing that “she had been stealing from them for some time”.

Brailsford told police she had a “gambling habit” and used the money to supplement it, with £300,000 spent mostly on Bingo and slots. Her defending lawyer, Nicola Hornby, claimed the gambling habit was “fuelled by depression”.

In sentencing Brailsford to 4 years and 8 months imprisonment, Judge Tim Spruce said:

“For approximately 10 years you acted effectively as finance manager …Over a period of almost nine years you exploited that trust and exploited that responsibility to perpetrate a fraud in excess of £1.4 million. The methods employed by you were not unsophisticated and were designed to avoid detection. It suggests you gave thought and planning into how the fraud would go undetected. Employees were potentially deprived of bonuses or brought under suspicion by proximity to your dishonesty.”

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