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Former Aide to Philly Councilman Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

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Theft by gambling addict comes to light while Pennsylvania legislature debates legalizing online gambling in the state.

24-year-old Richard North, a former aide to Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon pleaded guilty to stealing $49,000 from Henon’s campaign fund. He has since returned the stolen funds. Authorities were tipped off after Henon noticed the money was missing.

It is reported that North illegally cashed donation checks and used a campaign credit card to fund a gambling habit. The Georgia native has been sentenced to three years probation for felony theft and embezzlement. The case has implications for online casinos in America.

Scandal comes at inconvenient time for gambling proponents

The conviction comes as the state legislature in Pennsylvania debates legalizing online gambling. The neighboring state of New Jersey introduced online casinos last year. According to American gambling laws states can set their own rules with regards to the activity.

Bobby Henon is a member of the Democratic party, which is associated with the push for legalization. As a city councilman Henon has little say over the issue, but is associated with it nonetheless.

Opponents of online gambling will certainly use the case as ammunition for making a moral and social case against. In addition, legalization is opposed by Catholic clergy in the state as well as unsavory characters like the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

One can see the cry of this unlikely alliance of social conservatives and Vegas big-shots already: “Gambling-addicted Democratic Aide Steals Campaign Funds to Pay for Immoral Activities.”

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