The mother of four conned her colleagues out of £83,000 to fuel her gambling habit.


The mother of four conned her colleagues out of £83,000 to fuel her gambling habit.

A gambling addict defrauded her bosses of £83,000 by using company funds to fuel her addiction.

Joanne Clarke, 45, worked part-time as a bookkeeper at Wilkinson Environmental Services in Warrington, which her then-brother-in-law Alexander Wilkinson owned.

Clarke’s fraud was discovered when her father, who also worked for the company, saw that the account was empty and there was no money for employee wages.

Investigations of the bank discovered transactions apparently authorized by Mr Wilkinson that transferred money to Clarke’s Santander bank account.

“It’s me who has taken the money,” Clarke texted Mr Wilkinson shortly after the losses were discovered on July 4, 2017. I’m suffering from a gambling addiction and require assistance. “Could you please call the cops and get me arrested so that we can put things right?” Clarke, of Kingsmead, Chorley, had six bank accounts, and money from the company was deposited in two of them between June 30 2016 and June 22, 2017, according to a fraud financial analyst.

The mother-of-four appeared in Liverpool Crown Court this week, pleading guilty to theft by employee, which she began just two months after starting work for Wilkinson Environmental Services.

“There were 170 unique transaction receipts from the corporation to the defendant’s bank accounts totaling £86,630,” prosecutor Olivia Cristinacce-Travis stated.

Clarke was paid £50 per week for her bookkeeping duties, which accounted for some of the money, but the remaining £83,030 was stolen, according to Ms Cristinacce-Travis.

She was also clearly a gambling addict, having spent £174,000 on internet betting sites that year.

Mr Wilkinson stated in his impact statement that the company was a modest family business. The crime caused him a lot of worry, and “the amount of money stolen still shocks me, and the fact that it was perpetrated by a close family member hurts me.”

“There has been a big knock-on effect across the board. When it was first uncovered, the amount she took was so significant that it nearly wrecked the business.” Mr Wilkinson stated that his employees were impacted since they needed their hours and income. “The summary has come to an end.”


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