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Pokies makes Adelaide woman steel $800k from employers

 
 
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 05:24 pm
Quote:
Well it's clear from Leanne's own experience that if she could lose much less, she wouldn't have developed the pathological gambling problem that she did.


Do you agree with the above quote? I think that any amount is too much if it becomes an addiction problem.. I'm not against gambling but I agree that if the Hotel staff knew how much she was spending per week, alarm bells had to go off, (1) where was she getting all of this money and (2) she's obviously addicted big time, and should have been banned as per the law here in Australia from entering the pokie areas of these Hotels.

I am not sure what happens overseas, and it would be interesting for me, to find that out as well.

What do you guys think ? Feel sorry for her 11 year old daughter and the two cats.....




http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-12/gambling-prison-sentence-focuses-attention-on/4127472


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The social scourge of problem gambling has recently been the subject of intense political debate. But it's rare to see up close and personal the heartbreak it can cause.

Tonight a single mother who was a financial administrator in Adelaide is getting ready to go to jail. She stole more than $800,000 from her employers to feed her poker machine addiction.

Leanne Scott will be sentenced tomorrow. She's spent the past two days packing up her life and she shared her story with our reporter Guy Stayner.

LEANNE SCOTT: I'm a pathological gambler on poker machines and unfortunately I've stolen some money from previous employees to fund that addiction.

GUY STAYNER, REPORTER: How much did you steal?

LEANNE SCOTT: It was just over $800,000.

GUY STAYNER: Leanne Scott is packing up her belongings preparing for the big move. Today she was saying goodbye to her pets. She's sending two cats to the RSPCA. While the scenes are familiar for anyone who has shifted home, this otherwise typical single mum isn't going interstate or overseas. She's getting ready to go to jail.

How did all this begin?

LEANNE SCOTT: The gambling? It started socially, probably back in the late '90s, where I would go out on a social basis with $5 or $10, and I still remember my first win of $250 and it sort of spiralled from there. It was like, "Wow, I can win money on these things." Biggest win would have been about $10,000, yeah. And I think the wins probably make you - or made me wanna go back and win more. You get very greedy and you just wanna win more. But it all goes back into the machines.

GUY STAYNER: How much were you gambling?

LEANNE SCOTT: It varied from $1,000. Near the end, I wouldn't go into a hotel without $1,000 in my purse and quite often I would be taking out more from the ATM.

GUY STAYNER: So how much money do you estimate you were spending on the poker machines each week?

LEANNE SCOTT: Each week: anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000. I wanted to win more money so I needed to spend more money and unfortunately I turned to stealing.

GUY STAYNER: Leanne Scott stole from two employees. First from mining company Newmont and more recently from Accolade Wines.

How were you able to steal so much money?

LEANNE SCOTT: I had access to certain files that I manipulated to redirect funds into my personal account. And I guess I was just lucky or unlucky that the auditors never picked that up.

GUY STAYNER: Did you ever stop and think, "I'm ruining my life. I can't go on like this."

LEANNE SCOTT: It was - I had a very "I don't care" attitude at the time. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but the urge to play the machines was so great, I just needed the money to play the machines.

GUY STAYNER: Leanne Scott's losses were almost entirely at three hotels in Adelaide's south. She was spending four nights a week playing the pokies.

How much money do you estimate you lost inside those doors?

LEANNE SCOTT: I dread to think. Probably $300,000 or $400,000.

GUY STAYNER: And how much were you earning at the time?

LEANNE SCOTT: I was earning clear $750 a week. If I walked in there, they would still remember me. They knew me by name.

NICK XENOPHON, INDEPENDENT SENATOR: Leanne was actually losing more than $1,000 an hour and yet the venues didn't even intervene, didn't even tap her on the shoulder to say, "Have you got a problem?"

GUY STAYNER: So the staff had a pretty good idea that you were turning over about $5,000 or $4,000 a week?

LEANNE SCOTT: Absolutely, yep, yep.

GUY STAYNER: And yet no-one ever stopped you.

LEANNE SCOTT: No-one ever said anything, no.

GUY STAYNER: Anti-pokie campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon wants to help Leanne Scott in prison.

NICK XENOPHON: I support Leanne because she's taken responsibility for her actions. She's not asking for sympathy, but she wants to warn other people about the consequences of gambling addiction, what it can lead to. And if one person comes forward to get help tomorrow or the next day as a result of Leanne speaking out, then it's been worth it.

GUY STAYNER: How does Leanne's story support your push for $1 maximum bets.

NICK XENOPHON: Well it's clear from Leanne's own experience that if she could lose much less, she wouldn't have developed the pathological gambling problem that she did.

GUY STAYNER: Would you be in this position if there were maximum bets on poker machines?

LEANNE SCOTT: I don't believe I would be. If they lowered the maximum, yeah. I don't think I'd be in this position.

GUY STAYNER: A recent study found poker machines were the most regular mode of gambling for addicts who commit fraud. And like Leanne Scott, 88 per cent of gambling addicts who steal money from their employer have no criminal history.

What are you expecting will happen tomorrow with your sentence?

LEANNE SCOTT: I'm expecting to go to prison.

GUY STAYNER: Do you deserve to go to jail?

LEANNE SCOTT: I do.

GUY STAYNER: Why?

LEANNE SCOTT: 'Cause I've broken the law. I just can maybe only hope for a little bit of leniency.

GUY STAYNER: Leanne Scott will be sentenced in Adelaide's Magistrate's Court tomorrow morning. Based on recent cases, she can spec to spend the next two years in the Adelaide Women's Prison.

How does somebody prepare themselves for going to jail?

LEANNE SCOTT: Yeah, I - I don't know. I've - I had to say goodbye to my 11-year-old daughter a couple of days ago. It's extremely hard. It's really, really hard.

GUY STAYNER: What did you tell her?

LEANNE SCOTT: I just told her the truth. I don't think she could quite grasp how much money is involved. She knows the amount, but I don't think she grasps what that could - that could be two houses, you know. But, yeah, she knows mummy's probably going to jail.

LEIGH SALES: How sad. Guy Stayner reporting.


http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/national/pokies-addict-warns-others-to-seek-help-before-being-jailed/story-fndor8bb-1226425363177

MINUTES before being jailed for stealing $810,000 from her former employers, Leanne Scott warned others of the dangers of gambling addiction.
In the Adelaide Magistrates Court today Scott, 42, of Old Reynella was sentenced to at least two years jail for her crimes committed between January 2004 and September last year.
Before being sentenced, Scott cried as she urged others to seek help to overcome problem gambling.
"I'm not here to make excuses or seek sympathy," she said.
"I want to appeal to everyone who has a problem with pokies or is on the road to getting hooked to tell someone to please help them."
Scott said she had spent up to four nights each week gambling through the pokies at the Lonsdale Hotel, Crown Inn at Old Reynella and Woodcroft Tavern.
In sentencing, Magistrate Bob Harrap said Scott had not personally profited from the $810,000 she stole from Newmont Mining Services and Accolade Wines.
He said all of the money was spent feeding her pathological gambling habit and that a doctor's report, tendered to the court, reiterated that point.
"(Scott's) motivation was not for personal monetary gain but rather to fund her addiction," the report said.
"It was not to profit her personally but for the rather dubious pleasure of gambling."
Scott worked in the accounts department of both companies - first for Newmont between November 2002 and February 2007 and then for Accolade until last November.
Mr Harrap said when she was arrested for stealing from Newmont, which was discovered during an internal audit, Scott told Accolade of the charges and confessed to stealing from the company also.
"Your co-operation, particularly with Accolade, and being prepared to acknowledge your offending, sit down with them and talk them through how you did it is entirely consistent with your genuine remorse and contrition," he said.
Anti-gambling campaigner, Senator Nick Xenophon, appeared in court with Scott this morning and provided a letter to Mr Harrap.
Mr Xenophon said Scott's case was "tragic" and he hoped others would learn from her experience.
"I have personally undertaken to Leanne to provide ongoing support to her during any period of incarceration and to ensure she receives ongoing gambling rehabilitation services," the letter said.
Mr Harrap sentenced Scott to six years imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years.
He said he considered her contrition, co-operation and the impact a jail term would have on Scott's 11-year-old daughter.
"But your offending is simply too serious, it involved too much money and involved a breach of trust over a long period of time," he said.
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 05:33 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
No I don't think that's true. I think she'd be in the same position but it would have taken her a bit longer to get there.

I don't think the hotel did anything wrong. For all they knew she had lots of money to spend. Should a restaurant refuse to serve an obese person? Should a bar refuse to serve a drink to someone they know drinks every day?
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 05:41 pm
@boomerang,
I don't know boomerang... I agree on the first part maybe, if the maximum she could play is $1 (currently it's $3) then she would have spent less that's all, or perhaps went 7 days a week instead of 4? IDK.

But, there is a law in place here in Australia. If you recognise a gambler you are to bar them from the premise.. It does seem that she went to 4 different Hotels, so perhaps one each day of those 4 days, per week? Therefore, hopeful that the staff would recognise her as a once a week person? But, seriously at $1000 a pot and then going back to the ATM for more, suggests an addiction but maybe you are right if she played her cards that way, once a week at each Hotel.

I understand addicts are addicts and your point is valid. But the pokies and people's financial lives as alot seem to revert to stealing is the key issue here I think .
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 05:43 pm
In Canada, or at least Alberta, patrons can sign a pledge if they know they are a problem gambler giving permission to the establishment to kick them out if they show up on the property.
She's not only a problem gambler she's a thief. She has to take responsibility for her actions. Aside from that, I agree with Boomer. Hotel staff are not mind readers, nor should they be expected to be.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 05:53 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
Quote:
If you recognise a gambler you are to bar them from the premise.


But everyone in a casino is a gambler.

I'm not much of a gambler and I can't imagine going through $1000 in a casino but I once went to a casino with my very wealthy friend who was visiting from Japan. He went through $1000 in a matter of minutes.

He could have done that every day for weeks and it wouldn't have put much of dent in his pocket. How is a casino supposed to distinguish between who gambling is causing a problem for and who it isn't?
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 06:05 pm
@boomerang,
Actually, I have to eat my words I think.. As I also am not a gambler I "thought" that was the law, but I think Nick Z is trying and has been lobbying to bring in that law or reduce the amount you can gamble with, reduce the machine numbers to make it harder to get on a machine however, from googling it seems that you have to bar yourself ...

I understand a Hotel owner is going to lap up that $1000 a week x's the amount of people that are addicted right down to the Pensioners that gamble $50 a week, after all their renovations of their buildings speaks volumes of gambling at their premise.

I just think there should be some form of responsibility as it is greed on their behalf yet, a real problem for the addicts that they can't control (some of them) and there should be an answer here..

I also understand she stole and deserves jail.

I am personally just not convinced that there should be something else there, protecting this, as apposed to you owning up and barring yourself and seeking help..

I also understand an alcoholic can drink till the cows come home and possibly not be fore-seen as drunk / out of it therefore, won't get kicked out unless he is, so can continue being a drunk...

I may have to digress here. I can't think of a way in which we could stop someone from stealing to feed their addiction unless they want to.

Maybe someone has some ideas though.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 06:11 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
I don't think pokies MADE her do anything.

That being said, pokies do use every bell and whistle to maximize addiction to gambling and I agree with moves to assist problem gamblers.

I hate the bloody things...but our governments are addicted to the revenue they bring in.
Dutchy
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 07:21 pm
@dlowan,
The real offenders here are the Politicians for introducing these evil machines in the first place. This lady doesn't deserve to go to jail as she obviously has a problem and needs help!
hingehead
 
  3  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 07:41 pm
@Dutchy,
Whoa, Dutchy, the politicians introduced them? Off their own bat with no pressure from the hotel and club industry lobbyists? Interesting take.

I think the best way to educate people about pokies is to make them do two weeks work experience in a large suburban Sydney club's gaming room. Worked for me. The club used to give advances on social security cheques, in the mid 1980s, and watch people pour the money into the machines. I worked the early morning shift emptying them out, with buckets. You don't count the money, you weigh it. $100,000 on a good night. At the time they had just over a hundred machines.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 07:47 pm
@Dutchy,
Part of the help she needs is to take responsibility for her thievery.
Dutchy
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2012 08:47 pm
@dlowan,
Agreed dlowan but proper and stricter audit supervision at Newmont Mining Services and Accolade Wines should have prevented a lot of the damage in my humble opinion.
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 01:25 am
@Dutchy,
This is the thing. I agree Dutchy and I agree with Dlowan.

$800k is a shirt load of money to embessle... You know that you are going to get caught and you have a child, 2004 - 2012 means at the beginning of this, the child was 3 years of age? Have we considered that? I hadn't till now. So she gambled her childs life at least in 2004, 2005 & 2006 and then I think each year she just thought she was getting away with it.

But, the Government doesn't give two hoots who's personality has a compulsive side, or an addictive personality, they want money, sure the Hoteliers all wanted the same, win win for both.

But, you are right too Dutchy, this is where this situation may be different. Both Companies, allowed this to go on for several years, 7 combined, they should have picked it up the first year. Maybe the amount would have been a lot less, maybe the fact she had a 3 year old would have bought in a lesser sentence as well, but they allowed it to possibly go on for 3 - 4 years, both Companies. Sure that's a guess but one that probably would be fairly fair to judge on...

Greed takes over with such an addiction.. $100k a year probably, trying to double it to pay it back.

She mentioned $300 - $400k she lost. How does that pan out to the $810k shown at the end as taken?

Daniel29
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 12:19 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
I think she is lucky she goes to prison for two years, and she doesnt have to pay the money back. ive lost 60,000 thousand dollars of hard savings working when i left school. i have like 200 dollars left im still gambling i feal like i cant go on any more. I Would go to prison for 2 years if i could get my money back.
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 12:28 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
people who steal to feed a drug addiction are put in prison.

why should this addiction be special?
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 04:11 pm
@Daniel29,
Hi Daniel.

You have a good point, of her not having to pay the money back.

I don't know what to suggest or offer to you. To lose that much money, and keep going, you are not going to stop unless you change that addiction for another one that is healthy... People can get out of debt, but you have to "want" to see a better picture, IDK a motor bike? Something you really want... Maybe, that will help you want, to change this pattern for you...
0 Replies
 
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 04:13 pm
@Rockhead,
I just realised I wrote steel lols. Oh well..

Yes, I get all of that, I really do. I just believe that two companies allowing her to lift $800k over all those years, means they weren't doing their job right which could have stopped her (still sending her to prison) at $80k perhaps and maybe a much shorter sentance, with councelling whilst in prison and back on the straight and narrow for her now 11 year old daughter....

I am not taking the blame away from her, rather there should be more responsibility here of the owners where she worked.
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 05:06 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
they are responsible because she was a good thief and wasn't caught stealing from them soon enough?

I don't think so Willis...
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 06:21 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
The people she stole from are responsible?
The pokies are responsible?

Seriously?

She is responsible for her theft. No one else.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 06:26 pm
Quote:
Tonight a single mother who was a financial administrator in Adelaide is getting ready to go to jail.


I would think a financial administrator would be the person responsible for keeping the books. She probably hid her theft very well.
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 10:58 pm
@boomerang,
That is very true. And, it's easy to make up a Company for example and pay across to that Company.

However, as I hold a Trust Account, I know all too well that 1) It is the Directors responsibility to know what is going on in his/her business. Who his/her clients are, who his/her creditors are and authorise same or over look same.

And, 2) That a Company that can miss $400k should have an Auditor involved annually over the financial adviser/ controller as they are not a Director.

It always falls down on the Owner.

I employed someone to issue wages, to provide payslips. I did not over see her after 12 months or so, it was being done correctly. That very same person stopped producing pay slips (for herself) once I downsized my business to her and myself. As a result she is claiming $4k owed to her in Annual Leave as she did not have any payslips.. I've already gone down the legal track. Even with my bank statements of evidence of proof that she has been paid in full, the fact that there were no payslips is on me, as a Director and I may very likely loose irrespective purely on that note.

They employed someone. That person did not own the Company, they gave her too much control and trusted her. They did not oversee her work, nor conducted annual checks. They have to accept some responsibility for it going on for what? 9 years? Years in any event..

We shall have to bet to differ.
0 Replies
 
 

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