Lotto worker pleads guilty to defrauding her employer

A former lotto booth worker wept in the dock as she admitted to defrauding €6,820 from her employer

A former lotto booth worker wept in the dock as she admitted to defrauding €6,820 from her employer.

The Mosta woman, 33, J.B., was arraigned before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech this afternoon, accused of fraud and misappropriation. She was also accused of making a false report to the police or fabricating evidence.

Police inspectors Jonathan Ransley and Lydon Zammit, prosecuting, told the court that the accused had a gambling problem and was unfortunately employed in the gambling sector. This was shown by the amounts she wagered, argued Zammit.

Lawyer Adriana Zammit asked to be allowed to approach the bench, in order to discuss the case privately with the magistrate. The court however pointed out that the criminal code was clear in that criminal sittings are to be held in public and openly. “It is in the interests of the accused, too,” said the court.

The accused was asked whether she was admitting the charges, to which the tearful accused sobbed “yes.” The court told her that today was the start of a new chapter in her life and that the system was there to help her.

A probation order and a treatment order for gambling addiction were mooted as punishment.

The prosecution informed the court that the accused had returned some of the money she had misappropriated but that €6820 were still outstanding.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech said that although there was a public perception that probation is an easy way out, in actual fact, it was much more onerous than a suspended sentence.

“If you breach it, you get jailed for the original offence, in this case, up to 9 years!” added the magistrate, sentencing the accused to probation for three years, together with a three-year treatment order and a three-year restraining order. The court said it would also order that the money be repaid to the victims in instalments through her lawyer.