Tasmanian Gambler Gets Six-Year Sentence for Fraud


If you’re a regular reader of our site, then you know that problem gambling can sometimes lead desperate individuals to commit a variety of crimes. For example, there’s the man who threatened to burn down an English casino. Oh, and let’s not forget about the former soldier who kidnapped a man’s son in order to recoup $5.5 million in gambling debts.

Sadly, we’ve got another incident of this type to report. Earlier this week, Rachel Naomi Perri, a 49-year-old woman from southern Tasmania, was sentenced to six years in jail for stealing $940,000 from her employer. As you may have guessed, the motive for the theft was tied to online gambling.

Details of the Case

Our story actually starts back in 1998, when Ms. Perri was convicted of stealing $30,000 from an employer to fuel her gambling addiction. She was given a suspended jail term, and over the years she seemed to turn her life around.

Ms. Perri eventually became a manager for Tasmanian Veterinary Services in Bellerive. Unfortunately, her gambling-related demons returned in the form of a Facebook game called Hearts of Vegas.

She played this pokie-like game for four years, eventually stealing money from her employer in order to buy virtual coins and credits. Oddly enough, winnings from Hearts of Vegas could not be transferred into the real world. Supreme Court Justice Tamara Jago would later remark, “She could not explain why she played the game when there was no prospect of monetary gain.”

From February 2016 to July 2019, Perri engaged in 475 fraudulent transactions for a total of $940,000. She also got a credit card by using her husband’s personal information, eventually running up more than $24,000 in charges.

Generic image of a woman gambling online.

Method to Her Madness

In her sentencing remarks, Justice Jago used “sophisticated” and “significant” to describe Perri’s methods for avoiding detection. In fact, it’s all the more impressive when you consider that her employer used accountants who regularly reviewed transactions.

Perri used a number of tactics to conceal her criminal activities. One of the most common was to make a payment from Tasmanian Veterinary Services to a creditor. However, when it came time to transfer the money, it was instead sent to a bank account belonging to her.

Perri would later remark, “I got myself into so much trouble, but I decided that I might as well keep going until I got caught.”

Getting Caught

That knock didn’t come for quite some time. In fact, Perri wasn’t caught until a restructuring made her position redundant. After accountants finally started to notice anomalies, a substantial audit was conducted. Then she got the knock.

In November of 2019, police arrived at her house with a search warrant. Perri cooperated and immediately confessed her guilt.

Getting Punished

After being brought before the Supreme Court in Hobart, Perri pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and 25 counts of computer-related fraud. Justice Jago said, “This is a case of very serious fraud. The defendant committed a gross breach of her employer’s trust.”

Jago handed down a six-year sentence to Perri, which she must serve half of before she’s eligible for parole. Perri could’ve received more time, but the judge took into consideration her gambling disorder diagnosis, as well as various character references.