A woman has plead guilty to fraud charges, after using her position as the accounts manager at a veterinary hospital to steal around $680,000. She spent the money entirely on a mobile gambling game that did not and could not ever pay out with real cash.
As the ABC reports, Rachel Naomi Perri, from Tasmania, Australia, appeared in court on Monday facing “25 counts of computer-related fraud and one count of fraud,” over allegations she made 475 “fraudulent transactions” during the three years she was employed at the hospital (2016-2019), stealing a total of AUD$940,221 (USD$680,000).
Those transactions were made to support her addiction to the gambling game Heart of Vegas, which incredibly was not an online gambling portal paying out real cash, but a video game that simulated real slot machines. It paid out its winnings in virtual, in-game currency. Meaning that no matter how much money Perri spent, nor how much she won, she would never see a cent of actual cash she could withdraw from the game.
Here are Heart of Vegas’ terms, listed on the game’s website and store pages:
The games are intended for an adult audience. The games do not offer “real money gambling” or an opportunity to win real money or prizes. Practice or success at social casino gaming does not imply future success at “real money gambling”.
Perri, who has been diagnosed with a “severe gambling disorder,” had also “fraudulently taken out a $30,000 credit card in her husband’s name without his knowledge,” tallying an additional $24,000 of Heart of Vegas debt on the card. The court was told she had also “taken out multiple credit cards and personal loans” to further deepen her losses. She plead guilty to her charges almost instantly, saying she had been “waiting for a knock on the door.”
For three years, Perri had successfully gotten away with the transactions. It was only when she was made redundant in 2019 that the animal hospital discovered “anomalies” with their banking statements, in which Perri had ciphered money into “a variety of bank accounts, credit cards and personal loans in her name.” She’ll be sentenced next month.