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Former gaming venue operator jailed

Media Release 17 November 2006


Former gaming venue operator jailed

A former gaming venue operator has been jailed after the Department of Internal Affairs prosecuted him for theft and other offences involving over $138,000.

Judge Josephine Bouchier, in the Auckland District Court, today sentenced Donald Russell Jones, aged 63, company director, of Northcote, to 20 months imprisonment on six charges involving theft by a person in a special relationship and dishonestly using a document. On a seventh charge of failing to bank gaming machine profits Jones was convicted and discharged. He was granted leave to apply for home detention.

Jones owned “Sophie’s” in Commerce Street Auckland, where Scottwood Trust operated nine gaming machines, raising funds for community purposes. Jones failed to bank the gaming machine profits, as required by the Gambling Act. He told an Internal Affairs gambling inspector that he had used the money to support his business and pay his employees. Jones has failed to repay any of the money involved.

The Director of Gambling Compliance at the Department of Internal Affairs, Mike Hill said the Trust and ultimately the community were the victims in this case, losing out on money destined to benefit a range of causes.

“The banking charge and the convictions for theft by a person in a special relationship reinforces the legal obligations between venue operators and societies licensed to operate gaming machines,” Mike Hill said.

“Gaming machine proceeds must be banked within five working days of calculation. The venue agreement stated that the venue operator would not do anything that is inconsistent with the ownership rights of Scottwood Trust.”

ENDS

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