A FORMER addict and mother-ofthree gambled away £14,000 of her ex-partner’s money on an online bingo website after using his bank card without his knowledge.

Charlotte Graves, 31, had been in a relationship with the victim for 11 years when she used thousands of pounds of his money to fund her gambling addiction.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard she had been drinking heavily at the time of the fraud in 2018.

John Waller, prosecuting, said the victim told police his bank card had been used to credit funds to the website Volcano Bingo without his permission or knowledge.

“The total amount [the victim] says that was taken from his account without his permission was £14,750.48,” he said.

“The defendant was interviewed in July last year and essentially what she says was [the victim] had given her permission to use the bank card and he was fully aware of the transactions, although he had been intoxicated at the time so might not remember.

“Of course [the victim] has now confirmed none of those withdrawals were authorised and were without his permission.”

Graves, of Coopers Lane, Clacton, admitted one count of fraud in breach of trust.

The court heard she has a previous conviction for fraud when, aged 17, she used her grandmother’s bank card without her permission.

Cathryn Sutcliffe, mitigating, said her client was drinking heavily at the time and was addicted to gambling.

But in the court heard in the three years since the offence, Graves has “taken quite significant steps” to seek help.

Ms Sutcliffe said: “She’s sought help from Gamblers Anonymous and happily she’s not gambled for at least 18 months. She’s also abstained from alcohol for well over a year.”

She added: “This is clearly something that was quite out of character and quite frankly it was clearly something borne from addiction.

“She is deeply remorseful for this offence, she’s embarrassed and ashamed to find herself in this position and she’s expressed a desire to apologise to [the victim].”

Judge Christopher Morgan suspended a ten month prison sentence for 18 months and ordered Graves to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He said: “You were using alcohol at the time, you were also using cocaine. I recognise as I have said the efforts you have made.”