Ex-wife blew £66,000 at bingo

A fraudster frittered away more than £66,000 of her illegal funds on online bingo – and escaped jail.

Naila Tabhassam, 32, decided to remortgage her house in Milton Place, King Cross, after her arranged marriage ended.

In the aftermath of the divorce she turned to internet chatrooms which led to playing bingo on the internet.

By the time she was arrested, just under £70,000 had been lost playing online.

Tabhassam met a mortgage broker in August 2008 and signed documents that claimed she worked for Medina Meat, earning more than £40,000 a year.

In truth, she was employed by the RFL Group in Brighouse, on a salary of £18,000 in 2008/2009 and £24,000 in 2009/2010 which would not have been enough to apply for the mortgage of £150,000.

The existing mortgage on the property was paid off before the remaing money was spent online.

Defence counsel Oliver Jarvis said: “The defendant had been in an arranged marriage that was collapsing and was under a great deal of pressure.”

He told the court that the mortgage broker had advised Tabhassam that her earnings would have to be greater and created false wage slips to go with the application.

His Honour Judge Peter Benson said: “What on earth was she doing spending this huge sum of money on bingo?”

Mr Jarvis said it was an extraordinary time in Tabhassam’s life and she had now turned the corner.

In sentencing Judge Benson said: “These are serious matters and normally an immediate sentence of custody would follow but I do accept that this type of activity was out of character for you.

“It wasn’t you that thought up the deception. I can avoid making that sentence immediate.”

Tabhassam was given a six month suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work in the community.