Fifty year old Regina Bouskila, from North Bondi in Australia, was sentenced to jail for a minimum of five years for stealing more than 3 million dollars!
Bouskila used her position as Commonwealth Bank Branch Manager to steal money from unsuspecting customers to fuel her addiction to poker machines. She worked at the bank for 25 years.
There were five primary victims affected by Bouskila, two were elderly and one was dealing with the trauma of her husband being terminally ill. In their fragile states, Bouskila was able to withdraw extremely large amounts of money. “When cash or checks were issued she personally took possession of them,” Judge Jonathan Williams told the court during sentencing.
Last year in March of 2006 Bouskila took leave from the bank to go to Israel and this was when the fraud was detected. Apparently, the bank contacted to her to inform her that a large chunk of change was missing. When she returned a month later, in April, she admitted that she had stolen the money and fed it into poker machines at the Hakoah Club and Eastern Suburbs Leagues Club. During court proceedings it was reported that Bouskila’s gambling addiction began after the death of her mother back in 1992. An abusive marriage and losing custody of her eldest daughter also contributed to her illness.
The victims had no mercy, one said she wished the sentence was “a lot longer” and another woman almost suffered a nervous breakdown when she was notified by the bank. “I had no idea. It’s such a shock to the system.” she said.
Judge Williams said “I find it disturbing she still participates in playing poker machines, even though this is at a low level.”
Since she was sentenced to a minimum of five years, Bouskila will not be eligible for parole until November 2012.