Sandra Jaques’ is a cautionary tale about how an addiction to gambling can take one down a bad path and leave one to face terrible consequences. She had volunteered for many years with the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club and did such a good job there that she was elected to the post of treasurer. However, she had started dipping into the club’s funds to pay for her addiction to online gambling games. By the time Sandra’s cheating was uncovered, she had helped herself to around £176,000 of the club’s money.
Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Treasurer Couldn’t Help Herself
Firmly in the grip of gambling addiction, and facing disgrace in her community, Sandra tried in vain to cover her tracks. Not only did she forge a number of bank documents but she also said that part of the money wasn’t actually missing but could be found in some bank accounts. The 59-year-old football fan was tried in Bristol Crown Court where she pleaded guilty to the charge of theft by an employee.
Sandra Jacques was sentenced to two years in prison for her crime but the sentence was subsequently suspended. However, she was required to do unpaid work for a total of 200 hours. She was also required to pay prosecution costs amounting to £340.
Court Spoke in Favour of the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Treasurer
The court spoke in her favour saying that she had tried to make amends for her crime by completely compensating the club from which she had embezzled the money. As a matter of fact, she had been compelled to sell off her home, which she co-owned with her spouse, in order to make good the payment. The court noted that she had indeed suffered immense remorse over her actions. The court also pointed out that her husband Kevin stood by her to return the stolen money entirely.
Prosecutor Chloe Griggs said that Mrs. Jaques was a dedicated volunteer with BRSC for more than three decades. She was voted to the club’s committee in 2009 after which she was selected as part-time treasurer for a salary of £75 per week. The problem came to light when Mrs. Jacques did not provide a statement of accounts in time for its annual audit ahead of the October AGM. It was discovered upon further investigation that the figures in the accounts books did not add up. Furthermore, auditors were shocked to find out that she had transferred a total of £176,350 over a period of 16 months.
Treasurer Not Responding…
Members of the BRSC tried in vain to get in touch with Mrs. Jaques for a clarification on the massive discrepancy but she did not respond to them. The committee next received two documents, purportedly from the bank, stating that the club’s account contained unaccounted money. These documents turned out to be forgeries created by Mrs. Jaques and led to the authorities being called in to investigate the matter.
When questioned by the police, Mrs. Jaques admitted to being addicted to online gambling. She said that she started gambling using her own funds. But when her money dried out she used the club’s bank card. She apologized profusely for what she had done. She said that she would be moving to Spain once her legal problems were resolved.
Incidentally, she paid the legal fees incurred by the club in this case, over and above reimbursing them the money she had stolen.
BRSC released a statement saying that the club felt betrayed by Mrs. Jaques’ actions since she had been associated with it since her childhood. In fact, they had never suspected that she would be capable of such disloyalty. However, the club thanked her for returning the money entirely.