Posts Tagged ‘problem gambling’

Girl Scout Leader Stole Money to Play Blackjack

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

When I was young, I was in the Cub Scouts. I never graduated to the Boy Scouts because I didn’t have fun as a Cub and didn’t feel that it was worth my time. That was mostly because my troop leader sucked. What makes a scout leader suck? Well, if you never schedule activities for us to do and on the rare occasion that you do schedule something, you cancel at the last minute, that would qualify. Stealing the cookie money to fund gambling would also fit the bill, I believe.

That is exactly what a Girl Scout troop leader in Minnesota is accused of doing. Joleen Hopkins of Mendota Heights, Minnesota allegedly stole $8,214.22 from her troop. After the girls went to all of the trouble of bothering and harassing every single person who walks in and out of Wal-Mart until they gave in and bought cookies, Hopkins is said to have taken the money for her own purposes.

Hopkins allegedly wrote herself checks from the troop’s bank account and used that money to play blackjack at a local casino, pay bills and buy sports equipment for her kids. So I guess she’s just a good ol’ soccer mom who needed a little extra money. No harm in that, right? So she stole from the Girl Scouts. No one likes them, anyway, right?

It turns out that the justice system doesn’t feel that way. Hopkins has been charged with six counts of theft, with three of them felonies. If convicted, Hopkins could receive up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. What’s worse, as a result of her actions, that particular Girl Scout troop broke up. Now who am I supposed to buy cookies from?

Just last week I reported on a restaurant manager stealing from his company to fund a night of blackjack. Hey, at least Hopkins didn’t offer to pay the scout troop back with blackjack winnings!

I think the moral of the story here is clear: Don’t give money to Girl Scouts because you’ll only be funding a degenerate gambler…Wait, I don’t think that’s it. The moral is if you have to steal from others to have enough money to play blackjack, you have no business gambling. Blackjack and other casino games are meant to be played with your extra or disposable income – income that you use for trivial things like entertainment. If you don’t happen to have any of that, you don’t need to be gambling!

Honestly, I don’t know how Hopkins even thought she would get away with this. You know that saying “it’s as easy as taking candy from a baby?” That saying is deceptive, because in reality, taking candy from a baby and getting away with it is very difficult. For one thing, the baby will cry. Then you have everyone staring at you and wondering why you made the baby cry. Anyway, the same goes for stealing Girl Scout cookie money. Did she expect the Girl Scout headquarters to just think, Gosh, I could’ve sworn that troop sold about $8000 worth of cookies. I guess not, though, because they didn’t turn in any money.

So maybe the moral of the story is this: Joleen Hopkins is an idiot. Allegedly.

Manager Steals from his Company to Play Blackjack

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

People sometimes ask me, “How do I know I have a gambling problem?” One clue would be if you steal from your employer to pay for your gambling habit. An Edinburgh, England man was charged with doing exactly that. Benjamin Metcalf, a 26-year-old restaurant manager, was caught embezzling from his company after a five-figure amount was found to be missing.

Metcalf was the managing director of Nando’s and according to the BBC, he admitted embezzling £10,220.72 between June 28 and August 1, 2009. Metcalf loved to hit the blackjack tables and embezzled that money to fund his gambling habit. But wait, folks, it gets worse than that.

After he was caught and admitted to the embezzlement, Metcalf came up with a plan. He offered to play blackjack at a local casino and use the winning money to repay it. Brilliant! Of course, if he needed to steal money from his employer to play blackjack in the first place, I don’t know how he could pay it back by playing blackjack. First of all, he probably doesn’t have enough money to get started and make some money (which is why he had to steal it). Also, making money at blackjack is far from guaranteed, even for the best players. If Metcalf needed to steal to have enough money to play blackjack, then I don’t see why he would be so confident that he could win £10,220.72 playing it.

For obvious reasons, Nando’s declined Metcalf’s generous offer and instead agreed to press charges. The authorities then arrested Metcalf and charged him with theft. A guilty plea was made en abstentia and Metcalf is currently awaiting sentencing.

Folks, this kind of goes along with my last post. Metcalf did a bad thing (stealing) but justified it by saying that he was going to turn it into more money at the blackjack table and pay it back to the restaurant, keeping the rest. If you find yourself stealing from your employer to pay for playing blackjack, you have a problem. Actually, if you find yourself stealing from anyone for any reason, you have a problem of some kind.