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Jerome García July 31, 2023 3 min read
Australia: Accountant Uses Clients’ Money to Fund Gambling Addiction
The former accountant reportedly pled guilty to 113 charges for his crimes
Gambling addiction can often lead to significant debt and sometimes push some to commit financial crimes. But when money is involved, especially nowadays, it is difficult to conceal such crimes. Now, a new report suggests that a former accountant in Australia used his clients’ money to fuel a gambling addiction, a crime that he is facing more than 100 charges in court for.
As reported by ABC News, James Redmond Burrows, a resident of Melbourne who used to live in Launceston, pled guilty to more than 100 charges. When he initially turned himself in to the Tasmania Police, the former accountant said that he had been “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” While initially, he pleaded not guilty when he was charged, that changed. For the fraudulent activities, that involved stealing money from clients’ accounts and depositing them to an account that was used for gambling, Burrows faces 113 charges he pled guilty to.
Allegedly, the former accountant, who was the owner of JRB Accounting in Launceston, defrauded the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and his clients of more than AU$1.4 million ($937,000). The money, Burrows allegedly used to fuel his gambling addiction over a period of five years. Allegations against the former accountant claim that between November 2015 and February 2020, he transferred different sums between clients’ accounts and a personal “fraud account.”
That account, Burrows allegedly used to fund online gambling activities, including betting on greyhound and horse racing. The sums stolen by the former accountant varied. On some occasions, Burrows used one client’s money to pay the tax obligations of others. As an accountant, he was given unrestricted access to the online banking of different businesses. While this access was primarily for tax purposes, Burrows abused it to fund his gambling addiction, prosecutors claimed.
The Former Accountant Kept Tax Returns and Refunds of His Clients
According to prosecutor Simone Wilson, Burrows kept the GST tax refunds and tax returns of his clients for himself. That money was then funneled to one of his personal accounts and then used for gambling, said the prosecutor in court. When some of the clients started to suspect foul play, Wilson said, Burrows confessed to some of his crimes back in 2019. The prosecutor pointed out: “He (Burrows) told one, ‘I’m in trouble, I’ve been gambling, I’ve been stealing money, I’ve been ripping you off for a long, long time.”
Kate Gibson was one of Burrows’ friends and clients. When he confessed to her about his crimes, she changed her login details for online banking. When questioned by police about this particular case, the former accountant said that he called Gibson and told her: “if you didn’t change your login details when you did, I would have cleaned you out.”
While the criminal case against the former accountant continues, what penalty he may face is yet to be confirmed.