In Crime by Clyde Mooney

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Two men have been charged over fraud offences committed on hotels, with losses totalling more than $150,000.

In May 2016, 33-year-old Francesco Donato Giannone went on a gambling spree, visiting three pubs in Mount Gambier.

At his recent hearing, the South Australian District Court heard of Giannone’s exploits on the night of 19 May, beginning at the Rollison Group’s Jens Hotel, where despite being previously told not to bet through junior staff, he took advantage of a naïve young employee and surreptitiously leaned over the bar and placed unauthorised, unpaid bets at the TAB terminal.

Staking winnings and claiming to hold winning tickets worth $14k, he managed to place further bets on credit, before leaving as the staff member contacted her manager, after more than $11k in illegal bets. He continued to ALH Group’s Federal Hotel, again convincing staff he held winning tickets worth thousands, and making a further $7,269 in bets.

Soon after, he went to the Rollison Group’s South Australian Hotel, using the same tactic on another female staffer, but losing most of the bets, finally owing the Hotel $45,299.

The Hotel subsequently pursued the mother of two for the money owed, the woman resigning from her job of eight years and settling for an amount believed to be around $20k.

The spree cost the three hotels a total of $63,932.

Giannone was charged with two counts of dishonestly manipulating a machine and two counts of deception over the series of events.

District Court judge Gordon Barrett jailed him for four years and eight months, with non-parole of two years eight months.

On 3 January NSW police arrested an employee of Redcape’s Mt Annan Hotel, alleging he has stolen a total of $95,000 from the business since September 2016.

Officers from Camden Local Area Command became aware of the 29-year-old man, whom they arrested at the Hotel and took to Narellan Police Station.

The unnamed man has been charged with steal property as a clerk/servant.

He was granted conditional bail, and is due to appear at Picton Local Court tomorrow (16 January).