Gambling addict steals £300,000 from Pembroke

She has been sentenced to 30 months in prison

A gambling addict has stolen nearly £300,000 from Pembroke College.

Cambridge Crown Court sentenced Jacqueline Balaam to thirty months’ imprisonment after blowing more than £6 million playing Jackpotjoy.

Balaam, 41, was a trusted finance officer at Pembroke, but secretly an online bingo addict. In 18 months she copied 77 invoices and targeted the biggest suppliers to the college.

Her crimes were discovered after an internal audit. She also stole more than £3000 from Girton Social Club over the four years she volunteered as treasurer.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth sentenced her to 30 months behind bars and said she had made no attempt to seek help.

He said: “You seemed to cover your tacks with some skill in the way you manipulated your records.

“It is clear that your taking of this money was prompted by an addiction and it is equally clear that such was your addiction that you made no real profit from it and no money was spent for the benefit of your family.

“I cannot suspend the sentence because of the sheer scale of what you did and the length of time which you proceeded with it.

“You are an intelligent woman and you were well able to seek help during that period and you did not do so.”

A spokesman for Pembroke College said: “We would like to express our regret and sadness about this incident, which had miserable human consequences.”

Mark Shelley, mitigating, said Balaam has made “real efforts” to tackle her addiction since her arrest.