Dr. Guy Clark writes for us here at FGGAM, and today shares with us his write up in the Albuquerque Journal.
Gambling often leads to crime By Dr. Guy C. Clark / Chairman, Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico
PUBLISHED: Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 12:02 am
According to articles in the Albuquerque Journal, on Aug. 29 Attorney General Hector Balderas filed charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran for fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, violations of campaign law and the Governmental Conduct Act and tampering with public records.
According to the complaint, Duran withdrew about $150,000 from ATMs at seven casinos in 2013, and almost $300,000 from eight casinos in 2014. Sandia Casino appears to have been her favorite, as she is reported to have withdrawn a few dollars short of a quarter of a million dollars from that casino alone during the two years.
According to the article, the source of the money that was withdrawn from Duran’s accounts was misappropriated money from her campaign finance funds. The investigation apparently got initiated when someone at the bank that Duran uses noticed that she was depositing amounts of money in her accounts that were inconsistent with her salary as a state official. There is reported evidence that Duran was using the money withdrawn from the Sandia Casino ATMs to gamble using a “player’s club” account. Since significant money was withdrawn from eight casinos during the two years, it is likely that a good portion, if not all, of the nearly half a million embezzled dollars were spent on gambling.
The only good news in this is that it was not taxpayer money that was embezzled. Some supporters trying to buy access and influence will find that they have wasted their money.
Studies nationwide have reported embezzlement as one of the most common crimes committed by gambling addicts. State health department studies in previous years have indicated that there are probably 35,000 to 45,000 problem gamblers in New Mexico. Surveys taken at Gamblers Anonymous meetings indicate about two thirds of the attendees at the meetings have committed crimes to support their addictions. Considering these details, it is very logical to assume that there are probably thousands of cases of gambling-related embezzlement from employers and employees – think withholding taxes – each year in New Mexico.
Although there are likely thousands of these cases each year, the only ones that usually end up in the news media are the ones that involve public figures.
It is also interesting to note that in most cases of theft from most businesses, money or property passed along by the thief to a third party can be reclaimed by the original owner through legal remedies. Somehow, the state law enforcement and judicial agencies don’t seem able or willing to help return embezzled money that ends up in the gambling industry’s grasp.
New Mexico pays a heavy price for the dubious honor of having predatory gambling opportunities all over the state. It is time for the government to get out of the predatory gambling business.
Read more here: STOP PREDATORY GAMBLING PROTEST