Rachel Naomi Perri was accused of embezzling money from her employer for a period of three years, the proceeds of which she used to play an online gambling game on Facebook by the name of Heart of Vegas. After receiving a six-year sentence in December 2021, the woman now wants to plead a lighter sentence owing to her unhealthy relationship with games of chance.
Victim of Gambling Addiction, Not Criminal
Perri’s relationship with the game grew obsessive to the point where she took a total of AU$940,221 from her employer, or $690,300. The embezzlement remained vastly unnoticed for three years until the Tasmanian Veterinary Services found out that something was amiss. Despite her apparent addictive behavior, Perri was shown no leniency because of the size of the sum she stole.
However, there are clear circumstances that can offer leniency in the case and help her seek the professional help she needs. Heart of Vegas, the slot machine she played on Facebook, does not payout real money. Per Australian current laws, real money gambling on online casino games is prohibited, but some savvy developers do find ways to push their products as social experiences.
However, this social experience cost the plaintiff nearly AU$1 million and there was no safety check that would normally kick in during regular gambling experiences to check the origin of funds. The app sucked Perri in for three years straight during which she turned to a desperate measure to feed her addiction. She would play constantly she told the court.
Her habit would push her to forge entries in the veterinary clinic to hide her traces and insert her bank number when various payments were needed. This continued for three years. Perri though went further and scammed a credit card for a total of AU$24,000 or $17,600. Devastated in the end, Perri was discovered and faced 25 counts of various fraud which led her to plead guilty and now serve six years.
Premeditation Trumps Addiction Struggles
Her most recent appeal to overturn the sentence and reduce it, citing her clear addictive disorder, has been shut down with the presiding judges arguing that the extent of her embezzlement over a period of three years showed criminal premeditation.
Even then, Perri is clearly a gambling addict who should have had the tools at her disposal to turn to and avoid this calamity. She did not win any money and has probably used the entire sum of embezzled money to play Heart of Vegas which clearly had no added value on her lifestyle. Perri’s latest appeal was turned down by a three-judge panel, though, and a second appeal has not been reported.