Losing a £10,000 bet on tennis legend Roger Federer drove a gambling addict doctor to commit fraud worth £66,000.
Dr Aled Jones spoke up about his dishonesty to try and help other people avoid the spiral of deceit losing the money sent him spinning into.
He believed he could gamble his way out of the situation he'd got himself into but he ended up having to beg, borrow and eventually steal to try and keep his head above water.
In the end he was given a two-year suspended sentence by a Cardiff Judge after claiming payment for overlapping shifts, falsifying cheques, carrying out out-on call shifts during his contracted hours and making claims for payment for shifts he didn't work.
A hospital registrar at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, it was a huge bet on tennis icon Federer which signalled the beginning of the end writes Wales Online.
He said: "I bet on the US Open Men's final between Roger Federer and (Juan Martin) del Potro, which gradually built up to £10,000. Federer was up against this guy and he was number one in the world so why not put it all on him and in an hour you have got 10% more than what you started with.
"I was watching it, it was 2am over here, and I watched this guy have an enormous turnaround and play the game of his life to beat Federer. The money was gone and there was a frustration that if I had been more careful or wiser I could make this work. I never walked away and even at that time I could afford to lose that money."
He said he can remember making his first bet while studying at university, an accumulator for the World Cup, but he cannot put his finger on when gambling became an addiction.
Aled said: "The addiction drove me to commit fraud which is something I would never have done. It shows how far I lost perspective on reality. I still can't explain how it happened, I can't justify what I did because there are people in debt who don't commit crime.
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"I would justify it to myself by thinking there was 'no victim here' and I'll win the money back but these are all the ways the addiction makes you maintain the addiction and until you break that addiction it will get the better of you. I could only see a way out by gambling more to pay off the debt. I can look back now and see how that was never going to be."
He borrowed more and more money as the addiction took hold and even lost his flat after taking out huge loans to cover his losses.
"My dad actually paid off the outstanding amount on the mortgage and I was going to pay him back.," he revealed. "I thought I could turn it around and I borrowed money off friends and I would lie to them by giving them reasons such as a leaky roof.
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"I feel incredibly ashamed of it and I'll never forgive myself. My friends have given me so many second chances so I am grateful for that."
After he was arrested and faced prison and being struck off Aled got in touch Cardiff-based The Living Room organisation and started receiving counselling to address his addiction. He has ceased gambling, with his salary paid into a joint account with his father.
He praised the organisation and said he doesn't feel "any temptation to gamble now", although he admitted "you have always got to be vigilant and I worry whether it would be different if I have access to money".
Aled has now undertaken a challenge with friends to cycle from Cardiff to John O'Groats, back down to Land's End and back up to Cardiff, a feat which involves 2,200 miles and 60,000 feet of climbing, with proceeds going towards the Living Room organisation.
He acknowledges he couldn't have got to where he is now without support. He said: "The Living Room is an incredible organisation. I can remember when I first met a counsellor and was talking about what I had done and about my gambling and he said he could imagine I didn't know who I was anymore and that completely struck a chord, I felt somebody understood me.
"When you're an addict, you imagine you're the only one but nothing can be further from the truth. No matter now catastrophic the mistakes you have made are you are not alone and there's a way out."
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