crimesider

Casino dealer stole $200, fined $75,000

(CBS) PITTSBURGH - Skim $200 from the casino where you work and it might cost you $75,000.

That's what happened to 26-year-old Mathew Eisenberg, who stole two-hundred bucks from patrons at Pittsburgh's Rivers Casino where he was a dealer, then got fired, arrested and convicted - sentenced to a year's probation and ordered to pay restitution - seventy-five grand.

CBS Pittsburgh reports that Under the Pennsylvania State Gaming Act, the judge was required to impose a minimum $75,000 fine, up to a maximum of $150,000.

"Just had some expenses and unfortunately he thought that was the way he way to solve the problem and he learned his lesson like lot of people do," said Eisenberg's attorney Michael Santicola, speaking of the theft.

He's appealing the fine, and will argue the case Wednesday before the state's highest court.

"We're arguing in front of the Supreme Court that that is cruel and usual punishment," he told CBS Pittsburgh.

Although other casino employees in the state have been charged with theft, Eisenberg is the first to be prosecuted under the Gaming Act and District Attorney Stephen Zappala's office calls it fair.

"We believe that the crime fits the statute as written and we believe that the General Assembly wrote the statute to protect the integrity of the casino process," Zappala said. "We also believe that it's important for patrons of the casino to know that there is a process in place to keep them from being ripped off and to deter this type of behavior."

Santicola disagrees.

"I think it's going to follow him around for the rest of his life," he said of the $75,000 penalty," Santicola said.

"It does not fit the crime in our opinion."

  • Barry Leibowitz

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