NY Woman Gambles Stolen $617,000 At Turning Stone CasinoJuly 21, 2011 6:33 am
A woman from New York has admitted to stealing more than $617,000 from her place of work in order to feed a gambling addiction.
Sharon Oczkowski, 58, was employed as a bookkeeper at the Eastern Star Home & Campus in Oriskany. However, rather than trying to improve the plight of those at the assisted living facility, she instead stole the huge sum from her employer, before then gambling it all away at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.
Between December 2006 and April 2010, Oczkowski embezzled the money by writing herself hundreds of cheques, at one stage even using the account of a deceased elderly resident to cash some of the money. She then lost the cash playing the slots and casino tables at the nearby casino.
Admitting her guilt in front of the Oneida County Court and giving an insight into her gambling addiction, Sharon Oczkowski explained:
“I was raised to know right from wrong, and I never even had a parking ticket. I would go to bed at night hoping the next day would be different, but it was never different…I guess I’m going to have to fight it for the rest of my life.”
Oczkowski even speculated that her attempts to disguise the thefts became increasingly careless over time, possibly as an unconscious desire to get caught. Certain discrepancies were then noticed by employees at the Pounder Hall facility at 8290 Route 69, leading to her eventual arrest.
The 58 year old now faces up to 13 and a half years in prison for second-degree grand larceny, although Judge Michael Dwyer said he would consider reducing the
sentence to between 4 and 12 years if she could return $100,000.
In the meantime, Sharon Oczkowski has been receiving counselling for her gambling addiction, and commented:
“I think I was ready to get it all out. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror knowing what I did to my family. It just felt so good to talk to somebody who knew what was going on inside my head.”