Woman lost $7m on pokies

By Bill Kyriakopoulos 21st February 2006 09:32:45 AM
A LALOR woman will go to trial after being accused of stealing more than $7 million to feed a gambling addiction.Kate Jamieson, 38, was ordered to stand trial last week on charges she used fake names to set up bogus accounts and loans while working at the Bendigo Bank in Preston.It was reported that the mother of two is also accused of stealing funds from customer accounts.According to the Herald Sun, Ms Jamieson said her pokies addiction began when the Crown casino offered her an invitation to a VIP club with free accommodation and limousine travel.In documents submitted to the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, she said she visited the casino three times a week, losing up to $20,000 at a time.A loans officer at Bendigo Bank, Ms Jamieson gained authorisation to approve loans of up to $350,000 when she started taking out personal loans, home loans and stealing funds from the term deposits, the Herald Sun reported.It was reported that Ms Jamieson was fired from the bank after an internal audit.Released on bail, she was ordered by the magistrate to appear at the County Court on April 19.Gamblers Help executive officer Eddie Chapman said it was not uncommon for problem gamblers to steal from their workplace.“The amount we see stealing is probably an underestimate of the actual amount of gambling-related crime that goes on, because a lot of it is dealt with in-house, if it gets found out at all,” Mr Chapman said.“It’s part of chasing your losses. People will steal from work to win back the money that they’ve lost and of course they only continue to lose and get into more trouble.”Recent gambling figures show that money spent on poker machines in Whittlesea totalled $75.4 million in 2004, the highest loss per machine rate in the state.The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation figures show the average Whittlesea adult spent $811 on pokies annually.

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