Man from Essex sentenced to prison for exploiting casino bonus scheme

Jonathan Howard denied all charges but was still convicted. The 40-year old man is believed to have profited £236,000 from this scheme

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

In an age where online gambling is increasingly on the rise, many operators caution players against abusing bonuses, unless they want to risk being banned from the casino. Even industry affiliates guide players to avoid this guileful practice. Tempting as the promotions may be - whether they’re advertised on or the provider directly, one is always encouraged to read the T&Cs and follow them accordingly.

A Brief Intro

Jonathan Howard, a 40-year-old from Tawney Lane, Stapleford Tawney, has been sentenced to five years in prison after having been found guilty for conspiring to commit fraud by false representation. The companies he frauded were bet365 and Santander bank. 

Howard from Essex was accused of being part of a syndicate which created online accounts that allowed betting without the restrictions of a single account. The idea was to allow all the involved stakeholders to collect bonuses that would not be otherwise available to users under the terms and conditions of bet365.

The man obtained the personal information of individuals who willingly provided it to him. He then impersonated these individuals to gain access to bet365 services, bypassing the company's security measures to receive bonuses. This fraudulent operation, which started in 2008, involved more than 1,000 online gambling accounts. Howard was accused of being central to the criminal enterprise and is believed to have profited £236,000 from this scheme.

Jonathan Howard was also convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud against Santander bank. However, the court did not find him guilty of money laundering.

Howard appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, April 13, where he denied all charges. However, the court still convicted him by the end of the four-week trial, at which point the man was remanded in custody until sentencing.

The Co-defendants

Howard was tried alongside his co-defendants Anna Nikolopoulos, 41, of Tawney Lane, Stapleford Tawney. Nikolopoulos was acquitted of charges related to fraudulent conspiracy and money laundering. Daniel Gorman, 45, of Theydon Park Road, Epping, was found innocent in relation to charges for money laundering but he pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy against Santander.

Gorman received a sentence of 16 months in prison, which was suspended for 12 months, during the hearing on Friday, April 21st. As part of his sentence, he is required to perform 100 hours of community service.

Comments From The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate

Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate detective sergeant Mike Monkton warned against the practice of betting online using someone else’s name, claiming that it is “against the terms of use.” As daunting as it may be to go through the fine print, failing to do so is highly risky as one may end up breaching the casino’s regulations, perhaps inadvertently. However, as we all know ignorance of the rules is never a valid excuse so it is up to players to make sure that they’re fully aware of what is expected from them as players.

Monkton described the whole business as dishonest and deceitful, as he recalled the extensive inquiry that was initiated when the Directorate was notified of the case. They had spent endless hours sifting through documentation in different names. The detective sergeant further mentioned that when a search was conducted at Jon Howard's residence in Stapleford Tawney in February 2019, they could tell that the operation was meticulously organized to appear like a legitimate business, emphasizing that heaps of money were involved.

Final Speculations

Essex Police have not yet released any additional details on the case, which has resulted in some uncertainty regarding the exact charges.

While it is uncertain whether the charges against Howard and his accomplices were related to exploiting casino bonuses through the use of multiple accounts, if that were the case, it would be the first instance of its kind.

However, experts in the industry have suggested that the outcome of the case may have been related to the use of multiple identities to request chargebacks from Santander bank on gambling losses, which would be a more straightforward case of fraud.

This article was written in cooperation with