Saturday, August 14, 1999

Boone property valuator admits stealing thousands

Turner says he was addicted to casino gambling

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — An addiction to riverboat gambling led Boone County's property valuation administrator to plead guilty to a theft charge Friday.

        David Turner admitted to authorities he used as much as $45,000 in office funds to feed his habit and agreed to go to jail for a year, pay back all the money and immediately quit his job.

        He was indicted Friday on a charge of theft by unlawful taking, a process he started himself this week by confessing his deceit to Sheriff Mike Helmig.

        He told the sheriff he moved money among several office accounts to cover the thousands in cash advances he took on the office credit card.

        Mr. Turner, 35, swore he'd never even gone to a racetrack and only bought an occasional lottery ticket until December 1995, when he first stepped foot onto a riverboat casino. He was able to cover his own losses until sometime in 1997, when he began misappropriating funds, officials said. By the time he started attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings in April, he would wake up thinking about how he could get to a casino that day, said his attorney, David Davidson.

        “He just laid it all out,” the sheriff said of Mr. Turner's confession. “He said it was such a relief to get it out.”

        An audit by the state is not finished. So far, investigators think $32,000 is in question. Mr. Turner admitted to even more, estimating the amount between $40,000 and $45,000. Auditors also are questioning credit-card charges at local hotels and restaurants as well as

        at Toys 'R Us. Some of the money has already been paid back, Mr. Davidson said.

        Mr. Turner has been married for 15 years and has two children. He will be allowed out of jail to work so that he can pay restitution and support his family. He will be sentenced Oct. 12.

        Commonwealth Attorney Willie Mathis will recommend that he be given five years' probation, with jail, restitution and resignation as the key conditions of the deal.

        Mr. Turner has not gambled since April, Mr. Davidson said. He has been to the two local riverboats since then, but only to take his name off their mailing lists.

        Mr. Turner is among 5 mil lion compulsive gamblers in the United States — a number growing all the time, particularly because of the increase in gambling outlets like casinos, said Arnie Wexler, whose New Jersey consulting company educates casinos about dealing with addicts.

        “I'm not going to admire what happened,” Mr. Davidson said. “But you just saw a man stand up and say, "I did it.' He took responsibility.”

        It was the second indictment of a Northern Kentucky PVA in two days, but officials said there was no connection between Mr. Turner and Bill Kaiser, who was indicted Thursday in Campbell County on charges of stealing $49,000.


This garden's victory is lasting hope
Springer declines Senate run
Coleslaw blamed for E. coli outbreak
Trucker faces 4 felonies after fatal crash on I-275
No escape for center's escapees
Ujima festival was bust for businesses, survey says
Mentally ill learn to cope
Renovated seminary will provide housing for elderly
- Boone property valuator admits stealing thousands
DARE confronts criticism, seeks improvements
Hoxworth goes begging for blood
Quirk in sex law: No car means felony charge
Record crowd expected at 'Taste of Blue Ash'
'Nunsense' often dated, flat and lacking warmth
At Adventure Outpost, risk rules
Clearcreek to try again on levy
Cruise-in helps boy who can't walk or talk
Deal killed on Klan rally; judge to decide
Drought hit Ky. farmers hardest
Garage construction to tangle NKU traffic
Groups ask for Ohio EPA fix
Hamilton street-scape may finish early
Kids program hits grown-up issues
Landfill foes aim to join BFI suit
Missing woman's body found in creek
Monroe replacing official
Mother sues school over expulsion
N.Ky. counties will collect old tires
School voucher foes press for speedy ruling
Talawanda schools pass safety audit
Tent jail relieves crowding
Warren prosecutor says term limits aren't valid
Youth to get tips on surviving growing up