Mother and Daughter Steal Bingo Funds from Fire Department

This latest article takes us on a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to learn of an unfortunate crime case in which criminals selfishly used the game of bingo as a means of stealing money. All too often do we encounter such stories, but it’s important to share them in an attempt to discourage any such acts in the future.

Getting to the story, the culprits in this latest crime were a mother and daughter duo. Hailing from the US state of Pennsylvania, Catherine Drago, aged 83, and Carol Gamble, aged 52, have finally received punishment for allegedly stealing more than $730,000 worth of funds, from 2004 until 2007, raised from playing charity bingo.

In these stories, there is never an acceptable case of theft. Nevertheless, the pair decided to steal charitable funds that were supposed to contribute to the running of a fire department that was forced to close in 2007.

And it seems that the fire department closing had contributed to the case closing, as it can only be verified that $200,000 is missing. A so-called expert witness then stated during the case then testified that he only knew of a $200,000 gap in funding.

Mastermind Approach to Spending

With 2014 nearly at an end, it is incredible to think that it has taken nearly eight years for these criminals to be brought to justice. However, it gets a little easier to accept when you learn of how the devious pair masterminded their money management to avoid getting caught for so long, and you also need to factor in the trial delays.

As reported in the wake of the case, the mother-daughter duo did not have visible bank accounts used to store vast sums of money. Moreover, there was also no reported evidence of lavish spending. And that seemed to be the problem for jury who heard the case back in September.

Presented with an ample amount of evidence, as is often the case in many instances of criminality, the jurors decided that the mother and daughter were guilty of violating the Charitable Organisations Act but not for felony theft, which would have carried a weight sentence. As it stands, the pair got off quite lightly when they received probation.

Post-trial Aftermath

The lawyers for the guilty mother and daughter attempted to argue after the trial that being discussed in public and written about in media coverage should be punishment enough. He implored the judge to even refrain from placing them on probation, but was happy for them to each pay $83 to cover the expenses of the expert witness who had spared them a harsher punishment.

Quite often, these cases lead to prison time or partial repayment of the stolen funds. The assistant district attorney was forced to remind the lawyers for the mother and daughter that their clients had broken the law and needed to serve at least some punishment.

All of this will come as a relief to the fire department member who called for an internal audit. Alan Hornick had requested this from the mother and daughter, who served as treasurer and president, respectively. Hornick claims to have been called “a traitor and a backstabber” as a result.

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