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Marystown man charged with fraud involving VLT tickets

Grand Bank courthouse
Grand Bank courthouse-
GRAND BANK, N.L. —

Wade Joseph Kelly, of Marystown, was found guilty on charges of fraud and possession of stolen goods in Grand Bank Provincial Court Wednesday.  

The charges relate to events that took place May 27, 2018. In his written decision, Judge Harold Porter wrote the accused had been playing video lottery terminals (VLTs) at Chase’s Diner and Bar.  

It was the practice of the establishment to have winning slips brought to the kitchen, where staff would redeem them without scanning them using the computer. 

“The risk of being defrauded by the failure to immediately scan the slips was minimized by the fact that the slips were not returned to the gambler. Instead, if the kitchen staff paid out the slip, the slip was held in a cup until the barman came on duty,” wrote Judge Porter.  

“The barman said that every slip, once validated and paid out, went into the cardboard box, which was kept safely behind the bar. Given that practice, it would be impossible to ‘find’ a slip which had already been validated and paid.” 

The document states that a female employee who had been working in the kitchen that day explained that the accused came out to her with VLT slips.  

“She paid the face value of the slips without taking them into the bar and validating them with the scanner. He came in several times, with slips in different amounts, over the course of the afternoon.” 

When the employee checked her float later that evening it was $700 short. Upon further inspection it was discovered that some on the VLT slips had been dated May 18 and had been validated and paid out nine days earlier. 

The accused admitted to finding “four or five” slips in the bottom of the machine, and, when he won a slip himself, he took all of the slips out to the kitchen at the one time. He later said that he had found four slips, and had printed a fifth.   

Judge Porter wrote that the accused had varied his evidence, noting the accused didn’t know if it was four, five, or six tickets that he had cashed. 

“He said that he had found four and had won one,” wrote Judge Porter. “He didn’t look at the dates on the slips. He didn’t tell the staff that he had ‘found’ the slips. He pretended that the slips were his winnings. He knew, of course, that they weren’t.” 

Judge Porter wrote the accused pretended to have valid VLT slips and produced them to the kitchen staff, who paid him the face value of the slips without scanning and verifying that the tickets were valid and had not already been paid.  

“He claimed to have found the slips on the VLT machines, but that was impossible, because validated slips are stored in a box in a place which is not available to the public,” he wrote. 

“Pretending that the slips were valid and redeeming them at the cost of the diner amounted to fraud. Possession of stolen goods was also proven, because the slips had to have been obtained by the commission of theft.” 

Kelly will return to court on May 8 for sentencing submissions.

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