Roulette Habit Drives Cashier to Steal £300,000 08.10.2012

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Elaine Barrett, a 52 year old woman from Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, was convicted of embezzling £300,000 from customers of the Nationwide Building Society in Glasgow where she worked as a cashier. The money was stolen over the course of 2 years beginning in January of 2008.

Barrett’s scheme went undetected for so long because when customers would approach her counter to close one of their bank accounts and transfer their money into a long-term savings account which customers do not tend to check very often. She would give the customers fake accounts while secretly transferring the money into an account that only she could access. Barrett was only caught after she tried to transfer a hand written check in the amount of £9229 from an account that had previously been closed to a made-up account. In total, 49 customers fell victim to Barrett’s theft.

Investigations into Barrett’s activities showed that her secret account was linked to an internet casino where she played and became addicted to online roulette. Her attorney expressed to the court that numerous factors which included the death of her father, her husband’s business collapsing and his extramarital affairs plus her house being repossessed were all catalysts that led to her starting to gamble.

Barrett, a mother of four, plead guilty in court and was sentenced to 15 months in jail by Sheriff Bitt Totten who took into consideration that the money was not being used to fund an excessive lifestyle.

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