Casino worker and brother-in-law avoid jail over $50k Keno fraud
Two Darwin men have avoided jail time after pleading guilty to fraudulently cashing in a winning Keno ticket.
Michael Tomas and John De Guzman were today sentenced to home detention, for claiming $50,000 in winnings from a Keno ticket purchased at Sky City Casino in September last year.
The court heard Mr Tomas, a casino employee of 15 years, had swapped a winning ticket for a used one when a casino regular came to him to cash in his ticket.
Mr Tomas “had 30 minutes where he moved the ticket back and forth in a pile of used tickets, then very cleverly (hid) the ticket on his person and (left) the building,” the court heard.
Mr Tomas then gave the ticket to his brother-in-law, who returned to the casino the following day to claim the prize.
“It was a very misguided and not thought out enterprise that Mr Tomas embarked on,” defence lawyer Thelma Gray told the court.
“He was blinded by the need to assist his brother-in-law to help him through a hard time.”
The court heard Mr De Guzman suffers from mental health issues, after the death of his daughter in 2007.
It was argued the men should receive reduced sentences, as their crime was “different” to other fraud cases because it was not premeditated.
Whilst the entire crime was captured on the casino’s CCTV, it was another casino employee who raised the alarm, after he recognised the ticket having sold it to someone else the previous day.
The court heard Mr Tomas’ offending was much worse than that of Mr De Guzman, as he was the one to take the ticket.
Mr Tomas was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment, five months to be served as home detention and the following five to be suspended.
Mr De Guzman will serve four months in home detention, a further four months will be suspended.
The men will have to make regular payments over the next six months to repay the money stolen.
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