altGetting into debt is never a pleasant experience; even less so when you’ve got loan sharks threatening you if you don’t pay the money back that you owe them. Whilst there are several ways to seek help and make steps towards getting yourself back in the black, a North Shields pensioner resorted to property fraud to fix her monetary situation, which all began with an overly-inappropriate love affair with online bingo.

63-year-old Doris Chambers started playing online bingo games after becoming unemployed when she was looking for new ways to occupy her time. Spurred on by early wins, she sadly became a little too fixated on winning an elusive jackpot, and soon started heading down the slippery slope to debt. Rather than acknowledge that her gaming was getting gout of control and seeking help from professionals like GamCare and GambleAware, our persistent pensioner borrowed money from dodgy loan sharks instead.

When the lenders started demanding payments and sending threats, Doris decided there was no alternative other than to file for bankruptcy. However, this was not before she sold an investment property at the extremely-popular Royal Quays development in North Shields on the sly only days before-hand. The misdemeanour was discovered during a random check by the bankruptcy trustee, by which time Ms. Chambers had already used more than £35k from the sale to pay off her spiralling debts of £15k alongside the excruciatingly-high interest charges that accompanied them. She was subsequently summoned before a judge at Newcastle Crown Court in late August 2012.

The presiding judge, Brian Forster, told Doris that her case should be a warning to others about the “dangers of becoming obsessed with online another gambling.” Having admitted her guilt, he then sentenced her to a suspended eight-month prison sentence, accompanied by a three-month period of electronic tagging and supervision.

Her defence told the court that Ms. Chambers had been too embarrassed to confide in her family about her bingo addiction and mounting debts of around £80k, and that the shock of the entire situation had “stopped her gambling almost overnight.”

We would love to know your thoughts on this article about dirty-handed Doris. Also, what do you do to control your online bingo spending habits to avoid getting yourself into an equally sticky situation? Do you set yourself, and stick to, a strict budget? Maybe you set yourself a maximum amount of time online to dedicate to your favourite game?