Whilst the vast majority of online bingo players play responsibly and are able to just enjoy gaming as a hobby they occasionally dabble in, there are those who develop issues around their gaming habits.
At WDW Bingo we always advocate a sensible approach to using online bingo sites, and we take the responsibility of providing accurate information pretty seriously.
This recent event will hopefully act as a warning to those who might take their online bingo habit a little too far.
April Piercy, the manager of a doctors’ surgery stole almost £54,000 from her own practice after she spiralled into debt from playing bingo.
The 45 year old from Clacton was jailed for 14 months at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, after admitting fraud by abuse of a position of trust.
Piercy had a £60,000 a year salary as practice manager, but her addiction led her to spend up to £140 a day on playing both live and online bingo games.
As a result she racked up over £100,000 in debt, starting from 2001. To try and keep her head above water she had forged invoices from locum doctors over the next 3 years.
Sacha Bailey for the prosecution said that Piercy’s crime had a huge impact on her practice, which was already struggling.
Evelyn Hicks, defending, said that Piercy had been turning to bingo since the early 2000s after becoming depressed as a consequence of both her parents passing away in short succession. She had also felt burdened by the troubles of colleagues who would confide in her.
Piercy had found comfort in bingo, and playing 5 times a week became her lifestyle, the defence stated. Hicks explained that “the practice was in dire financial difficulties. She has added to it, she has not caused it.”
Her debt was estimated to be double what she had stolen from the surgery. In the end she had mortgage arrears, meaning her house was about to be repossessed. She had also obviously now lost her job and was living on benefits.
Judge David Turner, QC, told Piercy: “This is a tragic day for you. The fact is you have derailed your life, and the sad reality is you have made extremely bad choices for an intelligent person.”
However, he had some sympathy for Piercy, saying “You were not as perhaps well supported personally and you sought solace in what became an addiction to gambling.”
No order was made for compensation as a separate Proceeds of Crime Act hearing is set to be held next month.
This is a rather sad story with no real winners, and it seems such a shame that such long periods of April Piercy’s life were wasted by a usually harmless hobby gone wrong.