UK Woman Sentenced to Jail After Gambling £388,000 of Friends’ Life Savings

  • Delaney claimed the money was going towards a lucrative investment opportunity
  • She has received a prison sentence of four years and eight months for the crimes
  • One victim had to declare bankruptcy after giving the fraudster £30,000 ($37,925)
  • Delaney confessed to the crimes in 2019 before carrying out further scams in 2020
Woman handcuffed
A UK woman will spend almost five years in prison after defrauding friends and colleagues out of £388,000 ($490,492) and using the money to gamble. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A long-running scam

A UK woman has received a jail sentence after she gambled away £388,000 ($490,492) of her friends’ life savings.

a prison sentence of four years and eight months

The Essex woman conned colleagues and friends into handing over the cash by claiming that the money was going towards a lucrative investment opportunity. A court has now hit the offender Jay Delaney with a prison sentence of four years and eight months for her fraudulent activities.

The 32-year-old stole the money over a five-year period between 2015 and 2020. Delaney told her victims that she worked for insurance and investment management company Aviva and would grow a £5,500 ($6,953) investment into £10,000 ($12,642) in just a couple of years.

Numerous people ended up investing the majority of their life savings into the scam. Instead of investing the funds, Delaney used the money to gamble online.

The ultimate betrayal

Delaney eventually pled guilty to 38 counts of fraud. The origins of her criminal plan began in a meeting she had in a Southend pub, in which two men encouraged her to start a pyramid scheme.

One person who Delaney ultimately defrauded lost £30,000 ($37,925) and had to declare bankruptcy. Another victim, who considered the fraudster like a granddaughter, handed over £5,500 ($6,953) despite needing the money due to a partner’s serious illness.

a serious life-threatening illness to put them off the scent”

Commenting on the fraudulent scheme, Judge Samantha Cohen detailed how Delaney would often repay money to victims as a way to entice them to invest bigger sums. Addressing Delaney, Judge Cohen said: “You came up with a series of excuses about your health, or a serious life-threatening illness to put them off the scent on what happened to their money.”

Dealing with gambling addiction

Eventually, the fraudster confessed to her parents about the scam, asking her father to report the matter to the police. The authorities arrested Delaney and released her on bail in April 2019, but she continued to carry out frauds, stealing nearly another £50,000 ($63,208) after her release.

Delaney’s legal counsel Christopher Martin outlined how his client started gambling when she was 19 years old and that none of the money she stole went towards funding a lavish lifestyle. All of the funds were spent gambling. After getting caught in 2020 for committing further offenses, Delaney joined a gambling support group.

Delaney did not have a previous criminal record. She was reportedly highly emotional during the court hearing, crying throughout.