The slot machine ruined her life
WOMAN STOLE $79GS
Thu, July 15, 2004
OBSESSED WITH the heady drug of gambling, Mary Twiss spiralled out of control and spent every penny she owned on the slot machines at Casino Rama. That's when she began to steal.
Yesterday in Barrie court, the 55-year-old former court bookkeeper was sentenced to house arrest after admitting that in 2001 she took $79,000 out of the fines paid to the court that were meant to go to the attorney general's ministry.
LOST HOUSE, RRSPS, INHERITANCE
She gambled away her house, a $65,000 inheritance, her RRSPs and personal loans, and then began to pocket court cash, before heading for the casino in a desperate, futile, attempt to try to recoup her losses.
"But she kept on losing," said Justice Nancy Dawson in her sentencing report.
"Her desperate behaviour caused her to lose control over her life," said the judge.
She stopped paying her taxes, utility bills, even groceries. She neglected hygiene so she could spend more time in her world of glittering, clanging, slot machines.
Her secret went undetected while the court manager was away with an illness. But discrepancies were noticed and Twiss was caught. She attempted suicide by a drug overdose.
But putting a "pathological gambler" in jail will do no good for anyone, the judge said, so she sentenced the weeping woman who sat before her to a two-year conditional sentence to be served as a house arrest. She must also go to gamblers anonymous, seek psychiatric counselling and pay back $65,000 of the amount she stole. Some of the cheques she took were never cashed.