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Woman Sentenced for Stealing Sister’s Money to Play Online Bingo

  • 25 Jun 13
  • Written by Deena Chance

altLately, it seems that quite a few people are becoming partial to playing a game or two of online bingo with other people’s money. Like many crimes, however, the funds these purloining players use isn’t taken from a stranger, but a member of their own family…

Last week, magistrates in Grantham heard the case of 39-year-old Michelle Sheppard from Tarlok Green in South Witham, who admitted stealing money totalling £2,250 between the dates of 6th and 11th March 2013. The woman is reported to have asked her sister if she could use her bank details in order to make an eBay purchase in the summer of 2012. However, later in the year, the sister had noticed small Paypal transactions being taken out of her account. She swiftly picked up the phone to ask Michelle if she knew anything about the debits.

As soon as she was confronted, Michelle confessed to her sister that she’d been using her bank details to play at online bingo sites, but promised to stop doing so immediately. However, after another month passed and her sister received her next bank statement, it appeared she hadn’t stuck by her word as there were several new transactions recorded. Again, Michelle apologised to her sister and promised to cease using her bank details without permission.

You might wonder why the accused’s sister didn’t just close down her account as soon as she initially discovered the fraudulent transactions. However, the prosecutor, Miss. Ross, told the court that she “wanted to give her sister the benefit of the doubt” and therefore left the  account open in good faith that she would stop.

Miss. Sheppard alleges that she was given her sister’s permission to use the account until she was told not to on 5th March 2013. Her defence told the court that she never intended to spend such a large amount of money, but it was “far too easy to log-on and get carried away.” Michelle is said to be very apologetic and ashamed of her actions, and regrets ever playing online bingo games. The court sentenced her to a six-month community order, and has also instructed her to re-pay the outstanding amount of £2,140 to her sister, part of which she has already repaid.

What do our bingo-loving readers think about this story? Do you think you should trust close friends and family members with your personal banking details? Maybe you think it should be harder for anyone to make online payments in this manner?

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