Aussie Woman Stole $940K to Fund Gambling App Addiction

An Australian woman pleaded guilty to stealing $940,221 from her employer in order to fund her addition to a gambling app.

An Australian woman pleaded guilty to stealing $940,221 from her employer in order to fund her addiction to pokies app that does not pay out in monetary terms. In addition, she admitted accumulating $24,000 in debt on a fraudulent credit card.

Forty-nine-year-old Rachel Naomi Perri appeared before the Supreme Court in Hobart this week. The court charged Perri with 25 counts of computer-related fraud, plus one count of fraud.

Perri worked for the Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital between 2016 and 2019. The hospital made Perri redundant in 2019, and discovered anomalies in banking transactions. The hospital discovered 475 fraudulent transactions totalling $940,221. Perri admitted her guilt, when confronted, and blamed the Heart of Vegas gambling app.

Simone Wilson was the Crown prosecutor in the case. She informed the court about Perri’s role and her wrongdoings. Peri was the sole person in charge of the veterinary surgery’s financial accounts. She transferred money from the hospital’s bank account to a variety of accounts, personal loans, and credit cards in her name.

Police discovered Perri took out a credit card in her husband’s name without his knowledge. She racked up $24,000 worth of debt on that one card. She spent all the money on the Heart of Vegas gambling app.

Fraudster Blames Gambling App For Demise

Employees stealing from their employers to fund habits is nothing new, sadly. However, Perri’s case raised more than a few eyebrows. Not only did she steal close to $1 million, but she spent it on a gambling app that does not award monetary prizes.

The Heart of Vegas gambling app comes under the umbrella of the social casino category. Players can purchase more coins to play the virtual pokies. The app’s terms and conditions clearly state “regardless of the terminology used, virtual items may never be redeemed for real-world money.”

Perri could not explain why she continued playing the game.

“I got myself into so much trouble but decided I’d keep going until I got caught. I knew I couldn’t get away with it, I was waiting for a knock on the door from the police.”

A History of Problem Gambling

Greg Barns is the lawyer representing Perri. He explained how his client first gambled at 18-years-old and was instantly hooked.

“It started when she went to Launceston Casino on the day she turned 18. She began to use poker machines and she won $26 from placing a dollar into a machine and, as she described, it went from there.”

Baans revealed a court convicted Perri of stealing $7,000 from an employer in the 1990s. This conviction resulted in Perri moving to Hobart for a fresh start, but she returned to gambling in 2008.

“She described spending consecutive hours on poker machines. One session she spent 16 hours continuously playing on the machine.”

Perri found herself $200,000 in debt across nine credit cards but was not offending.

Remanded In Custody

Perri took out multiple credit cards to fund her Heart of Vegas gambling app addiction.

“She was using this to such an extent that she’d again taken out multiple credit cards and personal loans. It turned into what is, admittedly, very serious fraud activity.”

The court heard how Perri left the gambling app in auto-play mode while she slept. Dr Michael Jordan, a forensic psychologist, considers Perri to suffer from a severe gambling disorder. She voluntarily entered therapy, which will continue when she is in prison.

The judge remanded Perri in custody until sentencing next month. He told Perri to expect a length custodial sentence due to the complexity of the fraud.

“It was planned, calculated systematic conduct where the accused employed multiple accounting techniques and the books were consistently balanced. The prospect of her recovering any of the money are slim to non-existent.”