Crooked Accountant's $50 Million Gambling Spree

An accountant who stole $5.4 million from his employers over a 10 year period  managed to string the money into around $50 million worth of bets at the casino before finally being caught.
Richard Arthur Watson, 58, worked as an accountant for Ross Group since 1978, eventually rising to become the company’s head accountant.
However, the $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 was then forced to plough further personal funds into the company to keep the business solvent. In the meantime, the family 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.”
“It seems to me you did feel you had some entitlement to steal despite a large salary and additional substantial bonuses.”
“You saw you could get away with it and carried on doing so. In all likelihood you would have continued without the audit being announced. You came clean because it was fairly inevitable you would be otherwise exposed.”
Speaking on behalf of the family, Ross Group director Cameron Ross said they were “reasonably satisfied” with the judges sentence.

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