altThis month, a 45-year-old bookkeeper from Dundee has appeared in court, charged with embezzling over £42,000 from her roofing firm employers – Andrew Clark Slaters. It’s alleged that Patricia Henderson took the money for her own ends between 1st April 2009, and 30th October 2010. However, when she appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court this November, she pled not guilty to the claim of embezzling funds of £42,886 during the 18-month period, and claimed that some of the money was won whilst playing bingo.

The Dundee-based roofing firm is a family-run company which has over 60 years experience in performing slating services in the local area.

Her lawyer told the court that Ms. Henderson’s healthy bank balance could be partly explained by series of bingo wins. The Defence is currently awaiting a meeting with a forensic accountant, and says it cannot proceed until this consultation has taken place. In order to backup the defendant’s ‘not guilty’ plea, her team of lawyers will need to undertake a manual search of records at the bingo company’s head office, which is situated in the south of England. They anticipate that it will take approximately a week to gather this information, although they say that it is “quite a complicated case,” and that there are several avenues which they still need to explore.

Trina Sinclair, the Fiscal depute, agreed to the continuation, and the Sheriff, Elizabeth Munro, has allowed the case to continue into late November 2012 in order to allow the defence team to gather the necessary data and pursue further lines of investigation.

Whilst, Ms. Henderson is obviously innocent until proven guilty, it’s not the first that bingo has been linked with embezzlement and vice versa. Recently, the manager of an American land-based club was found guilty of embezzling nearly $80,000 from the club, even though she didn’t keep it for herself. Instead, she was ‘duped’ into sending it to a man she met through the internet, who told her he needed the funds to return to Canada from Malaysia. Earlier in 2012, another American woman confessed to taking $47k from the charity she worked for, which relies on bingo to raise vital funds for good causes. Furthermore, in the summer 2012, a resident of Manchester, stole a whopping £1.5 million from his employer, in order finance his addiction to online games.

Our conclusion? Whilst it’s always great to win money, crime doesn’t pay to play…