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Online betting addict gets suspended sentence

Steals £500,000 but is ill not dishonest...

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A woman has received a suspended sentence for stealing half a million quid from her employer, because the judge accepted that her addiction to online betting sites was an illness.

Sharna Baker, 26, blew £90,000 of her own savings and sold her flat to feed her addiction to betting on horses and football matches. She used her job as a clerk for an international bank to transfer money into five different accounts she held.

The money went to various online betting websites where she made bets of up to £10,000. Despite earning just £32,000 from her job at bank UFJ International she pinched nearly £500,000 to back her bets, the court heard. Baker admitted nine specimen charges of deception and taking £30,000.

Judge Peter Beaumont sentenced her to 51 weeks in jail but suspended the sentence because she was a victim of a "disease".

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