Karen Knowles, a gambling addict bookkeeper has been jailed for 18 months after being charged for stealing over £160,000 from two employers over the space of several years. This comes as a startling development considering nobody had any idea Karen Knowles was using this money to subsidise online scratchards and slots.
Racking Up Debt
She had been discovered after an audit at her former workplace, White Horse Leisure, in Sheppey. It was revealed that Karen had stolen over £70,000. After a further investigation, it was also revealed that the 45 year old mother had manage to siphon an additional £90,000 from UK Paper Leisure, when she worked there as a bookkeeper.
It was later revealed that Knowles subsequently admitted 10 offences of fraud by abuse of position. Keith Yardy who was for the prosecution, explained that Knowles had stolen the money from the White Horse family business between the months of March 2011 and June 2012. How Knowles managed to keep this a secret for so long was by covering up the thefts by recording the amounts as paid to regular contractors.
A Downward Spiral
Adrien Rohard, who was defending Knowles, stated during the trail that she had felt isolated after she and her husband had moved to Sheppey from Welling in 2005. Considering her husband had been attending many golfing trips, this only fuelled the isolation further.
“She started gambling online,” he said. “She was not very good at it because she started to incur debts. She ran up a substantial credit card debt.
“Unknown to her, her husband was also running up debts. They took out a loan of £80,000 and paid off his credit card debts. They paid off one debt the defendant had but didn’t pay the remainder of her credit cards.
“She continued gambling because she wanted that win that would take care of those debts. The money she obtained was not used to finance lavish holidays, it was purely the sum by gambling.”
The couple separated in 2008, and from then problems seemed to escalate. Knowles believed she could win back all the cash and pay off the debt racked up over the years. It wasn’t until she got re-married in 2012, that her gambling problem came to light.
Gambling is a serious addiction, which is heavily overlooked. Many people suffer from this and as a result, spiral further into debt because they lose control. This can lead to depression and in some severe cases, suicide. However, this cannot make a person excused from breaking the law.