$50 Million worth of bets from stolen money gambled away

I never understand these stories, but I guess gambling addiction is a very big and serious issue for a select few.  But when is enough enough and you walk away?

Richard Arthur Watson, 58m an accountant with the Ross Group since 1978 stole $5.4 million from his employers over a 10 year period  managed to lose it all making over $50 million worth of bets at the casino before finally being caught.

Eventually as head accountant, his $300,000 annual salary plus bonuses was not enough for the New Zealander who plundered $5.4 million over 150 fraudulent transfers before blowing the money mostly gambling at SkyCity casino’s VIP lounge.

However, Richard Arthur Watson’s ongoing crime was later discovered after the Ross Group ordered an audit of its accounts resulting in the head accountant’s confession.

The family run business have thus far only received $260,000 in repayments from Watson.

Presenting his case, Defence lawyer Shane Tait claimed his client was remorseful and had a “clear gambling addiction.”

However, Judge Charles Blackie remained unconvinced by the argument and gave Watson a six year sentence for what he described as a “gross, prolonged breach of trust.”

Summing up the case, the judge explained: “You had a compulsion for gambling but it was something you had the ability to control, but you chose not to. In my view the compulsion to gamble was an issue but greed was another.”

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6 years for $5.4 million...hmm, where do I sign up? Why not if he did this over 10yrs why not give him 10yrs as well (min)? Where's the deterrence in a 6yrs sentence?  There's no mention of him having to repay (other than the $260,000) the company either.

 Bernie Madoff  was sentenced to 150 yrs for his breach of trust in stealing $50 billion (woulda been cheaper just to shoot him, but there's no law allowing that in the US, other than treason) & this guy does pretty much the same thing & gets 6yrs...the lesson here is stick to millions not billions or...

SmokeDaAces Silver 2
3607d ago

This is insane! But I mean shouldn't the casino be on the hook for some of it...I mean clearly if he lost those kind of funds they must have noticed!

Posted by mothersquatch on 06/03/2011 6:11PM [ Reply ]

??? Why would they??? How are they responsible for his embezzling funds? Once funds are verified what would you want them to do? With Millions of players online, how should they confirm players are playing with legitimate funds? This is a slippery slope that players don't want to start down! Should players have to "apply" to play online & fill out forms showing how much they make annually + how much they can afford to lose? More govt regulations? How many sites would go out of business because of the "red tape" ("Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." Milton Friedman)... Problem gamblers will find a way around any blocks you put in front of them. If a casino stops a problem gambler, they'll just go to another. There are many "Big Time Losers" out there & they are legitimate players (unlike the one in this story) who can afford to lose "Millions" & they just continue playing. (see this article http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-million-dollar-club-losing-big-losing-often/article1311827/) Addiction is a terrible thing & there is nothing short of banning all gambling that will slow these players down. Many would end up in "under ground" casinos where the govt wouldn't be getting tax revenues or they could be put in even great dangers! As I've learn over the years with other addictions, you can't help the addict unless they want to help themselves! BTW this reminds me of when bars started to get suited for patrons over-drinking & driving...whatever happened to "Personal Responsibility"?

zzbigstackzz Silver 2
3602d ago

You can't put the fault on the casino at all. For all they know he can afford to lose $5 million over 10 years. I understand the horrible dark side of addiction, but there's no excuse for stealing that much money from honest hard working people. The way to go is to steal the millions and then when you get caught just tell the authorities you gambled it all away, when really you have most of it stashed away. Then after 6 years you're set for life.