Free Money?  When Panikos Constantinou decided to have a night out at a casino in Birmingham, UK during his June 2018 vacation I’m sure he expected it to go like any other. Perhaps a small win, maybe a small loss?  He was known to bet around £20 – £30 a night when at the casino. Unfortunately though, his worst impulses ended up ensuring that a night at the casino almost turned into nights in a prison cell.

Another patron there was also enjoying a night out at the Genting Casino at Resorts World. This man however was more of a high roller, moving from table to table, splashing the cash. He’d experienced something of a winning streak in the nights previous, and was carrying with him a bag containing £15,000. So engrossed was he in the anticipation of the next big win that when he moved between tables he accidentally left the bag containing his money under the table.

Upon realising his mistake he quickly returned to the table, only to discover that the bag was missing. As you would expect though, the whole venue is covered with CCTV, and it was this CCTV footage which revealed that 63 year old Panikos, of Solihull, had gone up to the table and stuffed the small bag up his jumper.

It’s of course unlikely that he knew how much money was inside, and entirely possible, in fact likely that he didn’t actually go to the casino that night with the intention of stealing money. That is though precisely what he ended up doing, and he and his wife vacated the premises shortly after, with what he appeared to view as his ‘free money’.

When later quizzed by police he denied the theft, saying that he’d left due to his wife being unwell, but the camera doesn’t lie and it was clear what had transpired. To make matters worse he had in fact spent the money by the time the police had tracked him down.

In passing sentence the judge stated:

“I am absolutely sure you had a fairly good idea that it contained money. You took a chance. I accept you did not go into the Genting Casino to steal other people’s money.

“What an amazing day you had when you realised you had £15,000. You certainly enjoyed it.

“You really should be ashamed of yourself having committed such an offence at your age.

“You thought ‘free money, it is mine and I am going to spend it’ which is absolutely what you did.”

Previously of good character and with health issues in the family, the judge effectively gave him a slap on the wrist, a two year suspended sentence. Sentences in the UK are typically quite low compared to the US for instance. He should think himself lucky that he didn’t face more serious consequences. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as free money!

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