Tombola Bingo has got its name up in lights but sadly not for the reasons that the marketing team might like. A story published in the Blackpool Gazette reports that Lynn Barnes from Blackpool has been sent to prison after being found guilty of stealing £30,000. The money that was stolen was cash received from clients, who believed they were investing in property abroad; however their cash was frittered away by the guilty woman for personal expenses, including playing online bingo at Tombola.
Barnes managed to gain access to the cash by convincing two customers to make payments to her, rather than the company she represented; Black Sea Dreams. One of the investors had been told that there were issues with the developers of the Bulgarian property that she was meant to be purchasing through the Blackpool agency. She therefore made a cheque for £23,720.47 payable to the defendant, in the belief that this was the final payment for her new home in Bulgaria. The second victim of deception was told that the £7,000 that he paid into the accused woman’s personal account, would be used towards maintenance and furnishings. However none of the money paid to Barnes was ever used for the purposes stated to her clients.
Both of the clients had been told by Barnes that the payments that they made in to her private bank account were all for legitimate reasons and would hasten the completion of their respective transactions. The theft of the cash only came to light when one of the victims contacted the police when she hadn’t received confirmation that the final transaction to purchase the property had been completed. Sadly by this time the money had been used by Barnes to settle her loan debts and to play her Tombola online bingo games.
The defence made reference to the woman’s previous good character, producing references from individuals who all attested to her previous good character. The defence also claimed that Barnes was not normally known for dishonesty in fact she believed that she was providing a good service to the agency client base. The pleas from the defence however were not given much weight and the judge imposed a 15 month jail term which he believed was entirely appropriate given the serious nature of the deceit that the defendant was guilty of. Lynn Barnes husband Tony, was apparently unaware of his wife’s deception.