Meetings & Information


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gambling Addiction = Crme

Slot machine cracker stole £600 of diet pills after failed Sevenoaks gambling spree

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A SERIAL shoplifter and gambling addict – who travels the country in search of a particular model of slot machine – has narrowly avoided jail after stealing diet pills worth more than £600 from a Sevenoaks shop.
Brogan Wake was sentenced to 35 days in prison, suspended for one year, after pleading guilty to the theft from Boots during an appearance at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on Friday.
The 24-year-old, who has been gambling since he was 18, was told he had been given his "last chance" following the incident, which saw him take goods worth £614.91 from the store.
Wake entered the High Street shop at about 11am on May 26, and proceeded to take the diet pills out of their packaging before placing the empty boxes back on the shelves.
He put the pills in his jacket, paid for some other items and left the shop.
Debbie Jones, prosecuting, said Wake had also stolen goods including sun cream and bronzers from Wilkinsons and Savers in Spalding, as well as being convicted for shoplifting at Southampton Magistrates' Court in January, adding he had been given a community order from a south-east London court.
In his defence, Andrew Main told the court Wake had studied the type of slot machine he targeted with a friend, who had one in his house, but that his early successes had become harder to repeat.
"He thought it could be a way to earn a living and it seemed so easy," Mr Main said. "But over the years the software has changed and now it is harder to win, but it has become an addiction like heroin or alcohol."
Mr Main said Wake, of Kingsbridge Road, Poole, was a member of Gamblers Anonymous, but that so far it had not worked for him, although he found it reassuring to see he was not the only person with a problem like his.
"How does he rationalise his shoplifting? He hates it and he hates himself for doing it," Mr Main added.
"He can see the way he is going and accepts it entirely but this is his last chance saloon – he has to stop stealing and he wants that more than anything."
Before the hearing, Wake, who is soon to have an operation to remove a tumour on his neck, was interviewed by probation officer Laura Hooper, who referred to the 24-year-old as a "very engaging fellow who I could have spoken to all day".
And she said Wake was not in different locations with the intention of shoplifting, but for hunting the machines he had learned to play.
"When he goes out he takes a float of £500-£2,000," she said. "And on the occasions he loses, he sometimes needs to raise money to get home – when he doesn't win the panic sets in, as he has bills to pay or needs to get his next float together.
"That's when he shoplifts, taking small items with a high commercial value which are easy to sell – he doesn't consciously target those products."
Chairman of the bench Jessica McQueen gave Wake the suspended sentence, which included a rehabilitation activity requirement of 40 days. She also ordered compensation of £614.91 be paid for the goods from Boots, which were not returned, together with court costs of £85, a criminal court charge of £180 and a victim surcharge of £80.
"There's not much more we can say – this really is your last chance," she said. "If this happens again, with more shoplifting, another bench will have no alternative to custody.
"You have had chances given to you now you have to step up and do it yourself."

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Gambling addict bank worker sentenced to 28 months for £300,000 cash fraud

Mark Cooney has been sentenced to 28 months' imprisonment at Plymouth Crown Court after admitting fraud worth nearly £300,000.
While working for Halifax and then later for Lloyds Bank, Cooney gained access to a number of accounts including two vulnerable, elderly victims and regularly withdrew money. His crimes were uncovered when audit checks revealed the irregular payments and that Cooney had been destroying documentation in an attempt to cover his tracks. In total Cooney stole £276,622.66 from six victims.
Kathy Taylor, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West said: "As a bank employee Mark Cooney was trusted by his victims. They expected him to deal with them fairly and honestly but targeted them because he thought he could take advantage of them. His gambling addiction led him to commit ever greater fraud meaning he could no longer cover his tracks and he must now face the consequences of his crimes.
"We will now seek to recover the money stolen under the Proceeds of Crime Act."
Background information
Cooney targeted one victim while working at Halifax between April 2013 and September 2014.
He targeted another 5 victims during his time at Lloyds Bank between September 2014 and March 2015.
Details below:

 Bank Fraud amount
 Customer 1 Halifax £133,410.13
 Customer 2  Lloyds £114,861.55
 Customer 3  Lloyds £15,000
 Customer 4  Lloyds £10,326.78
 Customer 5  Lloyds £3,007.70
 Customer 6  Lloyds £16.50
 Total £276,622.66

osted: 10:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015

Records show pattern of lies, theft by Tecumseh superintendent

Records show pattern of lies, theft by Tecumseh superintendent photo
Former Tecumseh Superintendent Brad Martin looks back at his wife after he was sentenced in Clark County Common Pleas Court on Thursday. Bill Lackey/Staff

Staff Writer

Numerous Tecumseh Local Schools leaders and staff members found money missing from the district as far back as July 2013, but the thefts weren’t reported to sheriff’s deputies, according to investigation and school records obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.
Many employees also noted unusual behavior by former Superintendent Brad Martin but mostly dismissed the incidents, interviews with detectives show.
To read the complete story, see an interactive timeline and view some of the sheriff’s records, go here:

Continuing coverage
In tomorrow’s Springfield News-Sun we dig further into the investigation records revealing new details about the gambling addiction Brad Martin admitted to in court. The same week he was sentenced to six months in jail for stealing to fuel his habit, the state announced a new campaign to combat the growing trend of problem gambling in Ohio.
By the numbers
$2,400: Stolen from athletic department, which former Tecumseh Superintendent Brad Martin blamed on a janitor.
$3,500: Stolen from craft show including door sales, booth sales and raffle money.
$9,600: Cost of the special state audit that Martin must pay the district back.
$48,000: Total restitution ordered to be paid to Tecumseh and several school support groups.
Unmatched coverage
The Springfield News-Sun has dug into the thefts at Tecumseh Local School District since former Superintendent Brad Martin was placed on leave in December. Since then, I-Team Reporter Katie Wedell has reviewed more than 1,000 pages of documents and interviewed dozens of community members, school leaders, deputies and experts on gambling addiction to bring our readers the most in-depth coverage of this important story.

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