Florida Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly In-Laws To Support Multimillion Gambling Habit

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.

16 thoughts on “Florida Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly In-Laws To Support Multimillion Gambling Habit”

  1. The person sitting next to you in church, the man in line at the grocery store, or one of your co-workers; any one of these could be involved with a gambling problem. Imagine your grandmother committing a crime to support her gambling addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, gambler, and have recovered from other addictive behaviors. I published a book, Gripped by Gambling, where the readers can follow the destructive path of the compulsive gambler, a prison sentence, and then on to the recovery road.

    I recently published a second book, Switching Addictions, describing additional issues that confront the recovering addict. If a person who has an addictive personality, doesn’t admit to at least two addictions, he’s not being honest. These are two books you might consider adding to your library. I also publish a free online newsletter, Women Helping Women, which has been on-line for more than ten years and is read by hundreds of women (and men) from around the world. (www.femalegamblers.info). I was interviewed and appeared on the 60 Minutes show in January 2011, which was moderated by Leslie Stahl.


    Marilyn Lancelot

  2. BIL, eniobob, great quotes, “Animals” is their most dark and visceral albums, I like it a lot but listen to it very seldom because it is so affecting and remember those quoted lyrics. Knew a guy that was a very bad man and had way more power than he should have. I always thought, when I would see him, of those lyrics you two have quoted (and their follow-on) would be how his story ended. And it was.

    “And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south… Just another sad old man, All alone…”

    Karma’s a bi*tch. It’ll get Ms. Dennison too.

  3. raff,

    Not that I wanna tell name…and I know what you mean….but isn’t borrowing money from a family member and refusing to pay it back..stealing as well?

    On the other hand…I know some family’s that have done just that…

  4. If we are talking Zeppelin,we have to include the Lemon Song! One of my favorites!
    This woman needs to spend some serious time behind bars. I just can’t fathom how anyone can steal from their own family!

  5. “Zeppelin”

    “Florida Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly In-Laws To Support Multimillion Gambling Habit”

    Couldn’t resist:

    “There’s a lady who shows
    All that glitters is gold.
    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

    And when she gets there she knows,
    If the stores are all closed.
    With a word she can get what she came for.

    Oooh, oooh…
    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

  6. Buddha and eniobob,

    In Cleveland one hears more Floyd and Zepplin on classic rock stations than any other artists. WNCX used to run a program called “Your Daily Floyd Fix”

    Useless information I thought you two might find interesting.

  7. “Police say that she won roughly $13 million over two years — but lost $14 million.”

    After winning that much cash in a two year period then losing it, I cannot fathom how her husband didn’t catch wind that something was up such as the elation of winning and the depression of losing …

  8. BIL:

    “And when you loose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown.
    And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
    And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw
    So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
    Dragged down by the stone.”

    By you know who.

  9. eniobob,

    “A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
    You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
    So that when they turn their backs on you,
    You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.” – Pink Floyd, Dogs

  10. “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.”

    The double whammy to the family IMHO is when they find that it was done by a family member.

  11. We seem to get about one story a quarter around here of someone going to the slammer for embellishment or fraud to support the habit.

    One of the local casino’s ads features the tag line, “What’s your Grand Casino story?” I always wanted to put together a commercial of a woman (IIRC – about 80% of these cases are female) talking about her great job in accounting. As the story goes on the camera pulls back to reveal she is in orange, behind bars. “Then I started moving small amounts into my own account, I knew I’d win enough to pay it back.”

  12. Do our drug courts even understand the power of addiction?

    I had suggested this elsewhere but didn’t see it picked up:


    A drug court program that we believe is run differently from every other drug court in the country, doing some things that are contrary to the very philosophy of drug court. The result? People with offenses that would get minimal or no sentences elsewhere sometimes end up in the system five to ten years…

    Ira reports from Glynn County Georgia on Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams and how she runs the drug courts in Glynn, Camden and Wayne counties. We hear the story of Lindsey Dills, who forges two checks on her parents’ checking account when she’s 17, one for $40 and one for $60, and ends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months behind bars, and then she serves another five years after that—six months of it in Arrendale State Prison, the other four and a half on probation.

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