UK Woman Stole £1.4m to Help Fund Her Gambling Habit

  • Karen Brailsford, 53, appeared before a court Thursday
  • The woman acquired the money mostly through falsifying invoices
  • Over £300,000 ($325,800) of the money was spent on gambling
  • Brailsford’s attorney said that imprisonment would hurt her children and father
Handcuffs on cash
A UK woman stole over £1.4m ($1.5m) from her employer to fund her gambling habit. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A simple “error”

A woman living in the United Kingdom stole £1.4m ($1.5m) from her employer to help fund her gambling addiction.

obtained the money largely by manipulating invoices

Karen Brailsford, 53, took the money from Urban Design and Development Ltd in Clay Cross from March 2012 to February 2021. She obtained the money largely by manipulating invoices.

Phillip Plant, the prosecuting attorney, said that Brailsford told the company directors during a confrontation that her actions were an error. She later confessed to her crimes and admitted that she had been stealing money for “some time.”

Brailsford’s gambling addiction

Brailsford, who earned a salary of £21,000 ($22,806), stole over £300,000 ($325,800) from the company in one year at her peak. She had already illegally taken £21,000 in 2021 before being arrested in February. 

she was only found out because of her brash negligence

Nearly £300,000 of her illegal income was spent on gambling. She also purchased family items, including items for her children and two holiday caravans. 

The court heard how desperate Brailsford was for money, and how she was only found out because of her brash negligence. Once one of her employers discovered the “obvious” scheme, she was confronted immediately.

Brailsford pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position on August 12. She appeared before the Derby Crown Court on Thursday, where she reiterated her desperation.

Patrick Dawson, managing director for Urban Design and Development Ltd, gave a statement to the court where he touched on the company’s losses during Brailford’s conniving run. He also revealed that he had struggled to separate his home and work life because of the sudden decline in finances.

Gambling thefts in the UK

Nicola Hornby, Brailsford’s attorney, said that her client had shown remorse since revealing herself. She also said that Brailford admitted to her crimes and had “nothing to show for it…this is not a case where there are substantial assets able to be identified.”

Furthermore, the lawyer argued that Brailsford has suffered from depression, and putting her in prison would have an adverse effect not only on herself but her children and elderly father. 

The news comes amid growing suspicion that new prime minister Liz Truss will scrap gambling reform, one of the most highly-anticipated topics of the year during Boris Johnson’s tenure.

Brailsford is not the only UK resident to get caught up in illegally fueling a gambling habit. Earlier this year, a finance manager in Wales stole £47,000 ($51,042) from a charity she used to work for. Prior to that, another UK man rerouted over £200,000 ($217,200) from a medical charity which he, too, used for online gambling. 

Brailsford is still awaiting sentencing.