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Aussie Manager Blames Casino for Embezzlement

15 May 2002

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australia Herald Sun: "A trusted manager who siphoned $374,000 (US$205,000) from AFL (Australian Football League) coffers was seduced by rewards for gambling at Crown casino's high-rollers room, a court heard yesterday

"Compulsive gambler Tracey Ann Henderson, 32, landed a dream job as the AFL's membership manager in January 2000 -- and three months later began deceiving her employer to cover her debts.

"She later told police it was `quite bizarre that an organisation like the AFL wasn't aware . . . that an employee was able to embezzle $300,000-odd through not following procedures'.

"The County Court was told Henderson had started playing blackjack at Crown as soon as the complex opened and had twice lost everything through gambling, but her supportive family had helped her get back on her feet.

"The former state-level softballer said she was approached by a Crown host in late 1999, offering membership to the exclusive Mahogany Room and free tickets to Derby Day.

"Henderson later told investigators free meals, accommodation and tickets to major events were all `part of the trimmings', but prospective members had to spend a certain amount of time gambling in the high-rollers' room.

"But after a bad night at the tables another member gave her a $5000 (US$2,740) chip -- which she also gambled away -- then demanded repayment at the rate of 10 per cent interest for every 12 hours the money was overdue, the court heard.

"Henderson told police that although she had borrowed small amounts of money from friends to gamble in the past, it was only after joining the big spenders' club that she began creating false invoices to repay her debts.

"…Some invoices for non-existent services to the AFL membership department were made out to Mahogany Room loan sharks, while others listed her friends as recipients, the court heard.

"…Prosecutor Bill Stuart told Judge Elizabeth Curtain that Henderson's sheer determination to carry out the frauds was demonstrated by fake e-mails she sent after being sacked in January 2001, purporting to be from a client who was owed money…"

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