Pokie stealer awaits sentencing

A former manager of Auckland’s Albion Hotel was convicted on February 7 of stealing more than $35,000 of gaming machine money.

A jury at Auckland District Court heard that Michael Anthony McGurk (54) of Takapuna stole the money from the Pacific Sports and Community Trust in November 2009 when he was manager of Auckland’s Albion Hotel.

He will be sentenced on March 19, 2014.

The Trust, now known as the Nautilus Foundation, operated gaming machines in the Albion and the theft was discovered when receivers took control of the business.

Internal Affairs Department, which brought the prosecution, said that Mr McGurk used the pokie money to pay for hotel trading expenses instead of banking it in the Trust’s account within five days of calculation as required by the Gambling Law. The Albion also had a history of late banking and Mr McGurk incurred a penalty of $2500 for infringing that requirement between July 2008 and July 2009.

Gambling Compliance Director Debbie Despard said that gaming machine proceeds do not belong to the venues or gambling trusts that own the machines.

“They hold the money in trust for distribution to the community. Stealing pokie money is actually taking money away from the organisations that support our communities. We monitor all gaming machines in pubs to ensure compliance with the law,” she said.

Source: Internal Affairs Department

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