Care worker steals over £17,000 to play Internet poker!
By maddy
By day 37-year-old Sandra Avery is an ordinary care home assistant. By night she's an Internet gambling addict. Her addiction went so bad that she systematically stole more than £17,000 from her employers to play Internet poker.

After winning the value and trust of her employers, Avery became an office admin and handled most of the cash transactions. She then started stealing from the Arundel House-care home in Paignton.

Avery's modus operandi was simple - all the residents with learning difficulties and who were in need of 24 hours a day care, received benefit payments. The accused office admin would take their Giros down to the Post Office and cash them. Instead of taking that money to the care home, she siphoned the funds into her own bank account.

When the crime came into light, investigations revealed that the figure of £17,410 was a conservative one. It also revealed that Avery had a Ladbrokes account through which had passed some £37,000 at a time when she was earning just £6,000 a year.

The Exeter court revealed that the huge Internet gambling losses were between April 2002 and January 2003 when Avery left her job.

The ex-care worker confessed that she was ashamed and appalled at what she had done, by betraying her employer's trust. Friends close to her and investigations reveal that Avery was previously of good character and led a simple lifestyle, but she started suffering from depression after two miscarriages. The Internet gambling provided an outlet mechanism for her.

Sandra Avery has been charged with a three-year community rehabilitation order and 100 hours community punishment work.

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