Elizabeth Sutton, a British administration manager, recently pled guilty to stealing £73,566 ($112,556) in order to fund her online gambling habit, and was sentenced by the courts to more than a year and a half behind bars.
Sutton stole the money from her employer, Camelot Automotive, in order to continue her online bingo addiction between December 2009 and August 2011. As a result of the theft, the future of Camelot Automotive was put in jeopardy, along with the jobs of all the employees with the company who were not given any pay raises for two years. In fact, the company directors reportedly had to inject some of their own money just to keep the business afloat.
Sole Control of Company’s Books
Timothy Harrington, prosecutor in the hearing, explained that Sutton was hired at Camelot Automotive in 2005 as the company’s administration manager,and was given complete and sole control over the finances of the small firm. Clearly, this was an error in judgment, which the company only just lived to regret from the sound of it.
Sutton diverted funds from the company into two of her own personal bank accounts instead of paying creditors, and then proceeded to gamble away the money on bingo, which she obviously wasn’t very good at winning.
The owner of the company became aware that £40,000 ($61,200) had not gone where it was supposed to in 2010, as a company in Portugal remained unpaid. However, at first he conducted investigations through two banks, simply assuming there had been some sort of technical error, but it quickly became apparent that Sutton had been playing around with the figures.
The court was told that Sutton’s husband frequently spent time abroad for business, and it was her loneliness which caused her to initially visit online gambling sites; she began stealing the money presuming that she would win it back and be able to repay the funds. Although it’s difficult to say at what point she would have realized she would have to win a small fortune in order to pay back her theft, and this therefore certainly does not justify her acts.
“This theft has had a considerable effect on the owner of the company, his directors and your former colleagues,” said Judge David Fletcher to Sutton during the sentencing. “They have been prevented from having any pay raises for the last two years, and their jobs were severely prejudiced and put at risk.
“When you are sitting in that prison cell, think about the effect you have had on your former colleagues, just because you wanted to engage in a whim of your own by gambling,” he added.
This is certainly a lesson for anyone to consider before entering the world of online gambling as, when done irresponsibly, it can lead certain people down a very bad road and it’s no longer “House” Sutton will be shouting as jailhouse is the only house that matters to her right now.
Perhaps if the eleven employees of Camelot Automotive had been making the decision, the sentence might have been a little longer and a little harsher than the 20 months Sutton has been handed out.