A WOMAN who ran up £26,000 of debts in her husband’s name as she battled a gambling addiction has been spared jail.
Sandra Richman took out bank loans, got a credit card, set up catalogue accounts and borrowed from payday lenders like Wonga by pretending to be her other half.
When her husband Mark was contacted at work by their letting agent to say the rent hadn’t been paid she attempted suicide as her four years of deceit unravelled.
But after hearing how the 42-year-old’s family was standing by her and she was now tackling her problems a judge said it was not in the public interest to jail her.
Alistair Hegerty, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how during their 20-year marriage most of the family finances had been managed by the defendant.
When her husband told her about the phone call from the letting agent in June last year she said she had forgotten to pay that month and would sort it out.
“He went out and when he returned there was a suicide note on the table. Mark found she had taken an overdose. She was taken to hospital,” Mr Hegerty said.
She admitted she had a gambling problem which had been going on for a number of years and had racked up debts.
“Mark searched the house and found letters, loans and a credit card from HSBC, catalogue accounts, debt collection letters.”
The next day he went to the bank and found she had taken out a £5,000 loan in his name in 2009 and another for £9,560 in 2011.
She also had a Mastercard in his name and had later opened accounts with Littlewoods, Isme, Simply Be and Marisota, running up debts of thousands of pounds.
She had also taken out payday loans with Wonga, CFO Lending, Minicredit and Payday Express in his name.
Questioned by police, she said the catalyst for what she did was her gambling addiction and she had used her husband’s details as she had a poor credit history.
Richman, of Gilman Close, St Andrews Ridge, Swindon, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud.
Mike Pulsford, defending, said it showed how a person could get into debt by gambling on online slot machines and her worst loss was £1,600 in one day.
He said: “It is very sad and she is trying to put the pieces of her life back together again.”
She is receiving counselling and had sought help with Gambling Anonymous.
It was unlikely she would be able to repay the debts from her small cleaning business and her husband’s work at a local butchers.
Judge Douglas Field imposed an eight month jail term suspended for a year and told her to do 240 hours of unpaid work and pay a £100 victim surcharge.