Addict defrauded two women
A 37-year-old hospital worker from Derby, England simultaneously conned two women out of their savings in order to fund his gambling habit. Matthew Waters has appeared in court in relation to defrauding a total of £100,000.
Both women were transferring funds into his bank account, which he would then gamble with. One of the women went bankrupt as a result, leaving her struggling to put food on her table.
Waters was sentenced to prison for one year and 10 months following a trial at the Exeter Crown Court.
The first victim
Waters was working as a manager for the Devon ambulance service when he met his first victim through work. He began a relationship with Gemma Beer in 2013 or 2014, according to prosecutor Rachel Drake. She was 31 years old at the time and was on the brink of buying a house.
Over a period of more than a year, he took £50,270 from her. He told her that debt collectors from a criminal gang would beat him up if he didn’t pay them and he needed her to give him cash. She gave him the money she had saved to put a deposit on a house, and then handed him her salary too. Her father had recently died, so she was particularly susceptible to his pressurizing her.
Waters used some of Ms Beer’s money to pay his personal bills, but much of it went into a number of his bank accounts. He also took out credit cards in her name and ran up maximum debts on them.
Ms Beer told the court in a statement that Waters had left her terrified of him, as he would have fits of rage and throw objects across the room if she didn’t hand over her money. She said the experience had shattered her emotionally and physically .
She said: “He has destroyed me, I am unable to build or maintain a relationship again. He made my heart die a bit more each time he did it. He broke a piece off me day by day.”
Waters pled guilty to the charge of fraud. Judge Timothy Rose said: “Miss Beer feels utterly betrayed and devastated in every conceivable way. Her life has been utterly destroyed. She was bled dry and forced into personal bankruptcy.”
It emerged that this was not the first time Waters had committed such an offense. He previously served 28 months in prison for defrauding another woman. He formed an online relationship with his second victim, who lives in Staffordshire, at around the same period in 2013 as he met Ms Beers. He conned around £50,000 from this woman. Neither of the two women knew about one another.
Waters’ lawyer said in mitigation that his client’s gambling addiction was a significant driver for swindling the money. According to the lawyer, Waters hoped to recoup the funds through gambling and pay back the two women. Siunce completing his jail sentence, he had not gambled and was now trying to care for his three children.