Jennifer Dennison appears to be the face of gambling addiction in an extraordinary case where she is accused of stealing more than $500,000 from her elderly in-laws to gamble at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. Police say that she won roughly $13 million over two years — but lost $14 million.
Police say that when she found herself short $700,000, she pilfered the life savings and assets of Laverne Robert Dennison, 88, and Janet A. Dennison, 73. Janet reportedly suffers from advanced-stage dementia. When a check bounced, the family discovered all of their money “including savings and checking accounts, CDs, annuities, life insurance and retirement funds” were gone.
Dennison, 42, allegedly closed at least six of her in-laws’ accounts and took approximately $513,535. She is charged with exploitation of the elderly, organized scheme to defraud, forgery of checks and uttering forged checks.
This is the type of case you do not want to go to a jury. Once the dementia victim hits the stand, your client’s goose is cooked.
The weight given gambling as an addiction remains somewhat uncertain in criminal cases. There is ample support for the notion of an addiction and should be available as a mitigating factor in sentencing. Yet, jurors and judges may find this addiction less compelling as other more classic forms of addiction.
Source: Tampa Bay as seen on Reddit.