19th of April 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Mother of two, Maria Parsonage, has stolen thousands of pounds from her employer to support her online bingo addiction.
Parsonage was an accountant at and employment agency, Vital People, and was entrusted to pay herself. It turns out that she was skimming a bit extra to help pay off her personal debt. She was charged with five counts of fraud to which she plead guilty and was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work without the requirement to pay restitution due to her limited funds.
Parsonage has suffered from a gambling addiction since 2007 and now regularly attends Gamblers Anonymous.
Her defending attorney, Howard Bernstein, said that her case has shown a 'very worrying' social trend for online gambling. He said, "If you can't sleep in the middle of the night you can turn on your computer and lose a fortune at the click of a button. This is an offence because of an addiction. If she can beat the addiction she won't trouble the courts again."
The Director Vital People, Jason Fox, was not impressed with the decision not to require Parsonage to pay back any of the money she had stolen.
Fox said, 'What really annoys me is the message being sent out is 'don't worry about stealing, you get away with it. But I didn't want her to go to jail, I don't think it would have helped her, especially if she has a family. We had a great relationship, she was my most trusted employee apart from my wife, Jenny, and a lovely girl. She just got herself into a mess."
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