Aled Jones, a doctor with the City University Hospital, has admitted to defrauding the NHS of £68,000 for the reason of his gambling debts according to multiple sources. The 39-year-old doctor was sentenced at the Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
On both counts of frauds, Aled Jones pleaded guilty. The court had earlier heard that he owed a massive debt from gambling, an addiction he developed back from when he was still a student studying medicine.
Within a space of two years working as a registrar at the City University Hospital, under the Nephrology and Transplant Unit, Jones stole a total of 420 checks. As a registrar, the young doctor had access to the codes that unlocked the office of the Bereavement Services Department of the Unit’s office. From this department, he carried out the outrageous theft of the 420 cheques.
Between March 2017 and March 2019, Aled Jones had cashed about £34,000 of cheques he had amended and made payable to himself.
Addressing the Cardiff Crown Court, the prosecutor said that Jones not only stole cheques but claimed locum shifts at different hospitals. The worth of these claims totaled about another £34,000.
Within a space of 3 years, beginning from 2016, the prosecutor said that Aled Jones had claimed these shifts with Cardiff and Vale Health Board, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board, Aneurin Bevan Health Board, and CWM Taf Health Board. Most of the time, the Doctor overlapped shifts or simply claimed even those he had not worked for.
On Jones’ defense, Richard Dawson said that the Doctor had circumstances that worsened his gambling condition. Dawson said that Jones had suffered the death of a family member, and the loss “exacerbated his gambling problem.” He went further to say that since his arrest, the Doctor had put in 628 hours of voluntary work at the Covid Ward and Transplant Unit as a way to reward his colleagues for their support.
While reading the sentence, Dyfed Llion Thomas said that Aled Jones defrauded an “institution which has always been cherished by this country and no more so than now.” He also commented on the tragedy of the case, being that someone with the ability as a doctor would risk so much on account of irresponsibly gambling to the point of addiction.
The Cardiff Crown Court gave Doctor Aled Jones a two-year suspended sentence, including an order for 200 hours of work without pay.
Gambling is a game that has come to stay. Governments even recognize a great deal of traditional gambling as a stream of income, so there are laws regulating how gambling is done. However, it is clear from the past few years that the law has not done much to catch up with the pace at which gambling is evolving, especially online gambling.
Many jurisdictions are yet to institute laws to establish a regulatory authority that should define how internet gambling could best be practiced. This, however, has not stopped the rise of online gambling. If anything, gambling responsibly has become the product of the reluctance of the law in taking a position on online gambling.
The Risks of Gambling Online
The bulk of the risks of online gambling is on the gamblers. This is particularly because there are no laws or regulatory authority to approach redress in fraud cases. Regulating online gambling does not carry implications that are far separated from the regulation of the traditional gambling outfits.
The regulation of internet gambling is crucial not just for protecting the gamblers but also because it can be a revenue source for the government. Billions of dollars go into gambling every year, and there is no stopping it. Why not issue licenses to operators and collect taxes? The fact that it can be regulated to operate as a reputable business makes one wonder why efforts have not been made.
Obtaining a license for internet gambling in the few jurisdictions of the United States that have legalized internet gambling is not only costly, but it is also offered at unreasonable terms that most people who wish to operate online gambling platforms opt for offshore licenses.
While many people who wager with offshore casinos that lack credibility have been defrauded of their money, the syndrome of always wishing to recover the loss leads to more losses. You can read further on the risks of online gambling here.
Part of the reason for regulating gambling is to moderate winnings or losses. Regulating online gambling ensures that gamblers know when to count their losses and walk away. Aled Jones may be one case out of the victims of unregulated online gambling.
A regulatory agency or authority also guarantees that only credible organizations are licensed to enter the business. A government-licensed organization will not struggle to build trust, and gamblers too will play responsibly from the comfort of being backed by law.