Deceived by a lying, gambling co-worker

Published: Tuesday | December 3, 2013 Comments 0

I have been deceived by my friend and co-worker. He told me and the company that his sister was critically ill overseas. He said she had an illness that required expensive surgery which she could not afford because she was a single mother. I was the main one raising funds for him. We had a fish fry, a raffle and other ventures to garner funds for him to help his sister. The company also made a donation. The sister eventually died and again, everybody gave a helping hand so that he could go to the funeral. He got compassionate time off from work to attend the funeral. In this elaborate scheme, he brought back a funeral programme. It was noticed that his sister did not have his surname, but no one thought much of it because they could have had different fathers. However, a funeral photo was strange because he was not in the picture, but then he said he was the one taking the picture. A few persons were suspicious, but they were deemed 'haters'.

He has now confided in me to state that it was all a hoax because he has a serious gambling debt which could have caused his life and he needed money to settle the debt. He thanked me for all the efforts and asked me not to tell the boss or anyone. I feel like a fool. He has deceived us. I think I should report him. What do you think?

A: Your co-worker is heartless to claim that his sister was sick and died. He is a dangerous man. Obviously, there is nothing he would not do to maintain his expensive bad habit of gambling. He has put his co-workers through unnecessary trauma and grief for an elaborate deceptive scheme. Let us hope he does not have a sister because she would be angry to hear that she is 'dead'. Perhaps, he did not even go to the airport, much less attend a funeral overseas.


You should insist on him repaying the donation from the company. Perhaps you could overlook the funds raised through your efforts, but he should not only confess to you, but express regret to you, his fellow co-workers and the boss.

He needs serious help and should join a group to help him kick the gambling habit, otherwise, he will likely find himself in financial debt again. He also needs help with getting over exploiting and lying to persons.

It would be better for him to own up rather than you having to report him to the boss. However, if he shows no signs of regret and will make no restitution, then you might have to report him, preferably to your human resource department and let the department handle it. If there is no department or no one who plays the role of a human resource manager, then you will need to report him to the boss. Otherwise, you could be seen as an accomplice after the fact. However, before you report him, you should inform him that you are going to report him if he does not own up to his boss and face the consequences.

In addition, you must not be so gullible with every hard luck story. Instead, take your time and do due diligence before you offer assistance and launch a campaign to get assistance.


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