Sandeep Kaur is an American licensed nurse of Indian origin who gained notoriety for gambling and robbing banks across USA which earned her the nicknames “Bombshell Bandit” and “Gambling Queen”. Fuelled by her addiction to gambling, Kaur became the subject of American news after falling in favour with casinos where she gambled away her money. To repay the casinos and loan-sharks Kaur took to robbing banks.
Kaur began her career as a nurse and invested some money into the stock market during the great economic crash of 2008 when the stock prices were at an all-time low. She made a whopping profit of $2,00,000. To celebrate the win, and her birthday, Kaur headed to Las Vegas for the first time where she hit the casinos and soon became addicted to gambling. Unable to pay off her creditors, Kaur took to robbing banks and was soon captured by the police while she was attempting to do the same in a bank in St. George, Utah. Kaur is currently serving a 66-month prison sentence in USA.
Early Life and Education
Kaur was born on 11 November 1989 in Chandigarh, India in a Punjabi Sikh family as the daughter of her parents. The family moved to California, USA when Kaur was seven years old. Although Kaur’s father worked as a taxi driver, he told people that he was an office executive. Kaur was raised in an orthodox family along with her brother where they were isolated. They were banned from having a phone, watching television or even inviting friends home. Although her parents were divorced, they kept it a secret.
Kaur and her brother studied at a school in California where they subjected to bullying and racial abuse in the wake of the 2011 9/11 attacks in USA. The incident left the siblings with a bitter experience and they soon started skipping school. Kaur’s mother fell ill when she was 14, which inspired her to become a nurse. At 19, Kaur became a licensed nurse and at 20, left her home to move to Sacramento to get a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
The Rise and Fall of Sandeep Kaur
Kaur and her cousin Amardeep lied to their parents and went to Las Vegas to bring in her 21st birthday, where they instantly took to the “freedom” that was denied to them at home. After shopping for party dresses and shoes, the duo hit the casinos. Kaur won $4,000 at her very first table and soon got hooked to gambling. She continued playing and multiplying her bet after every loss to win back her money.
Kaur ‘s addiction to gambling earned her the reputation of being a bold and lucky gambler. Such was her gambling addiction, that Kaur quit nursing. However, her luck soon ran out and in one day, Kaur lost nearly $60,000 in just 3 rounds. She came clean to her family for the first time in 2011. She was being chase by creditors which prompted her and her mother to move to a new address and they settled in Union City, California where Kaur went back to being a nurse and working 96-hour shifts to pay off her mortgage.
Sandeep Kaur – Husband
After Kaur’s mother realized the gravity of her crimes, she tried to get her daughter married as early as possible. To arrange Kaur’s marriage her mother invited proposals to her house but Kaur rejected all the men.
In September 2013. Kaur got married to a man she chose. Her husband would give her a weekly allowance of $1,000 which made Kaur go back to her old ways. Kaur started gambling and losing money again which resulted in the end of her marriage. Her husband divorced her in April 2014.
Bank Robberies and Subsequent Arrest
After the end of her marriage, Kaur soon went back to her old ways. She was continuously pursued by loan sharks and in 2014, was cornered by two men who asked her to pay up $35,000 in two days, by hook or by crook. They blackmailed her to either pay up by working for them or to rob a house or a bank, to do whatever it took to pay what she owed them, even giving her a gun. Kaur made her first robbery a week later at the West branch bank in Valencia, California, escaping with $21,200. Kaur dressed up in wigs, designer clothes and her trademark sunglasses, donning a different look with each robbery. In her second robbery, she frightened the bank tellers that she would explode a bomb if they failed to hand over the cash to her. This stunt made her infamous as “Bombshell Bandit”. She robbed banks in Lake Havasu City in Arizona, and San Diego and acquired $1,978 and $8,000 respectively.
Kaur was finally captured after she robbed a bank in St. George, Utah in a two -hour long high-speed police chase. When she was caught, she begged the police to just shoot her in the head. Kaur was charged with a federal prison sentence of 20 years for each of the four robberies in addition to paying a fine of $2,50,000 for each robbery.
Sandeep Kaur Court Case
Kaur ‘s legal representative, lawyer Windward pleaded the court to reduce her sentence claiming that she Kaur was a “sufferer of her upbringing”, which led to the reduction of her prison sentence to 66 months which she was also ordered to pay back every stolen dollar. Kaur’s mother still pretends that no one is aware of her daughter’s crimes even though the case earned international media attention. None of her family members attend her court hearings.
Kaur ‘s character served as an inspiration for the 2017 Kangana Ranaut starrer Bollywood film ‘Simran ‘. The film is a hybridization of the real-life events of Kaur’s life, offering a light-hearted take. However, Ranaut ‘s character if modified as a Gujarati girl, while Kaur is a Punjabi Sikh. She gave the rights to her story to the makers of ‘Simran’ for $50000.