Playing addict stole hundreds from trusting pal to fund her behavior


A WOMAN who stole nearly £10,000 to fund her gambling addiction has been ordered to pay every penny back.

Alexandra Popa admitted committing fraud by false representation when she appeared before magistrates in Hereford.

Prosecutor Robert Skinner said the victim, who did not speak fluent English, had known Popa for around a month when she had asked for help with making changes to her banking details.

But, the court heard, Popa had written down a copy of the victim’s account details, using them to set up an online bank account and make 22 payments totalling £9,177 to her own account between November 30 and January 16.

“The victim had trusted her to help her out, but she was repaid by having this money stolen from her,” Mr Skinner said.

When the fraud was discovered, Popa fully admitted taking the money and told police she had done it because she had gambling debts and was heading for bankruptcy, the court heard.

Philip Cornell, for Popa, said the 31-year-old had not planned to steal the money, which was supposed to be being paid to the victim’s landlord.

“She has a gambling addiction and it has taken over her life for the past 12 months,” Mr Cornell said.

“She is now working as a delivery driver and has offered to pay it back when she can. She said when she found she was entrusted with the account she just did it, and she is very upset about it all.”

The court heard Popa, who has now sought help for her addiction, had found herself drawn to fixed odds betting online, and had amassed debts of around £20,000 before taking the money and using it in “a desperate bid to try and win back the money she had lost.”

Popa, of Grandstand Road, Hereford, was handed an 18-month community order and must pay £9,177 in compensation to her victim. No costs order or surcharge was imposed due to her lack of means.