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.
TAGS: JacquiBalaam Fraud CrownCourt Cambridge PembrokeCollege 022015 ___
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
Koalemos wrote on February 16, 2015, 5:20 AM
The problem now is that she is likely to return to gambling, so the situation will not improve in the future.
UK_Writer wrote on February 16, 2015, 6:13 AM
Well, yeah. Probably. On the other hand, without access to money as job offers will be short on the ground - and without access to credit due to the conviction, it'll be cash only
Dragonfairy1 wrote on February 16, 2015, 7:03 AM
I guess that's the perils of being able to easily gamble on the web, I hope she gets some help.
UK_Writer wrote on February 16, 2015, 7:35 AM
Yes, I used to know her. She's not a bad person, just didn't make the right choices.
maxeen wrote on February 16, 2015, 7:57 AM
Sad but there was a lot of greedy grabbing,the worst part was the social club theft from the ordinary folk,sorry no sympathy. Should only deal in ones own cash. No difference than the thief who takes the charity box.
Hollyhocks100 wrote on February 16, 2015, 8:01 AM
If I hadn´t had people I loved in my life who suffered from addictions I probably would think she is getting what she deserves if convicted and sent to jail, but I know that addictions are easily started and hard to fight off, especially when they are so easily got into.
Ellis wrote on February 16, 2015, 11:04 AM
A conviction for fraud is far reaching and she will have problems for the rest of her life...insurance companies, banks, credit companies etc...won't touch her with a barge-pole...
UK_Writer wrote on February 16, 2015, 11:47 AM
Yes, some people deserve what they get - and some end up somewhere and end up making things worse in their efforts to fix their original problem/shortfall/debt, always believing the next one's going to make them a millionaire
UK_Writer wrote on February 16, 2015, 11:48 AM
You're right. That's it for life in a lot of ways now. In court she admitted guilt and so sentencing is in a month. She's basically "honest", so hasn't lied herself out of it or tried to say not guilty.
LeaPea2417 wrote on February 16, 2015, 12:18 PM
That is so sad how she let gambling control her. That is the bad thing about gambling. It can become addictive and it can destroy a person.
WordChazer wrote on February 16, 2015, 1:43 PM
That's quite the tale for this area at the moment. At least it stops the press from talking about Miles Bradbury, which has been a topic of conversation for so long every angle of that case has been redone about six times. On a positive note, did you read about the former addict from Arbury who has been going round paying back the cost of what he stole from people to fund his habit? He's now become a Christian after sitting on the floor of one of the churches in his area and asking for help to quit his habit.
UK_Writer wrote on February 16, 2015, 1:46 PM
Now you can gamble online it's made it far more accessible to people who wouldn't ever dream of walking into a betting shop and laying down so much money.
UK_Writer wrote on February 16, 2015, 1:47 PM
I can't believe we have two close connections! First the CI link - and now this area! No I'd not seen about the bloke from Arbury, but a lot of them are a sandwich short1
I am looking up his story, see if I knew him. And no, I don't think I ever knew that man. I'm a bit concerned that he appears to "run his own small care company" now though!
WordChazer wrote on February 16, 2015, 2:16 PM
The world is indeed a very small place at times.
I'm not sure about the 'small care company' either, but if it's kosher, give him his due for trying to make something of his life. Of course, it could be something as simple as running errands for the elderly in the area, or popping in to see them for company, rather than what you and I might call 'a care company'.
allen0187 wrote on February 16, 2015, 10:30 PM
Gambling addiction is as real as any other addiction out there. Hopefully, she gets the help the she needs.
UK_Writer wrote on February 17, 2015, 10:07 AM
Well, she's most likely going to prison next. They've given her a month to sort out her life/house/kids before returning for sentencing next month.
scheng1 wrote on February 20, 2015, 12:44 AM
She probably won some money when she started gambling. if a person never wins at all, she will not become addicted.