Gambling addiction forces pharmacist to steal $700,000 from church friend

Gambling addiction pushes people to desperate lengths and the disease itself is known to ruin livelihoods, careers and relationships. The case of a pharmacist who faked financial distress, testicular cancer and business opportunity to steal over £500,000 ($650,000) from a friend is a good reminder of why we should try not to not give in to it. Compulsive gambler and victim went to church together when Peter Saad decided to find another way to fuel his gambling addiction, which had already spiraled out of control by the time he started concocting his schemes.

A complicated scheme with multiple payments

First, Saad told another devotee and a friend that he needed £288,200 ($375,000) to pay off his mortgage, which the friend was happy to provide. Next, Saad said he was diagnosed with what may be terminal testicular cancer. Moved by her story, the friend offers to help her pay for a private treatment that quickly turns out to be too expensive. Saad added credibility to his story by faking MRI scans and fake medical consultations.

The man was a respected professional, so the friend never suspected that Saad would actually try to scam him to fund an entertainment expense. The anonymous friend paid another £127,150 ($165,000), and Saad eventually tricked him into believing he could invest with him in a pharmaceutical warehouse business, prompting another payment of £121,339 ($158,000 ) of the friend.

The total amount stolen by Saad rose to £534,005 ($695,210), but by then the friend realized something was wrong. The friend, who remained anonymous, eventually confronted Saad who, to his credit, admitted it was all a ploy to help pay off his gambling debts.

This resulted in Saad losing his status with the General Council of Pharmacy, the organization that allows pharmacists to practice their profession. The GPC was outspoken and called Saad’s actions heinous. The man was sentenced to 21 months in prison last year by Chester Crown Court.

GPC refuses to show leniency to Saad

Saad argued fairly with the GPC and told the organization that preventing him from practicing the profession for which he was trained would only worsen his gambling addiction. The panel, however, remained committed to suspending the license from Saad, arguing that he had shown planning and complexity in his plan rather than acting out of desperation or spur of the moment.

This led the panel to conclude that Saad was not worthy of continuing his duties with the GPC and that he had specifically used his position within the organization to rob his victim.

Jerry B. Hatch