“Gambling Addiction Can Happen to Anyone. A Lawyer, A Policeman, Even a Postal Worker.”

“The holidays for many addicted gamblers can be a dangerous time while out “chasing” money they may need for holiday gifts or travel. I know I did it many, many Christmas’ past within my own past gambling addiction. So many wasted holidays due to my addiction. And you know what? I was only hurting myself and digging my family into a bigger financial hole…..

Gambling addiction is not a “poor persons” addiction as I have heard it be called many times. No, it happens to doctors, lawyers, policemen and even Postal Workers like this story shares by the publication Michigan Live .  It caught my attention because it happened to a Grand Rapids postal worker and my husband happened to be born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. Why I am I sharing this guest article? To let others know that when we come into recovery wake learn and DO TAKE Accountability for the poor choices we had made.”   *Cat*

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Postal union official’s gambling led to theft of $9K intended for Muscular Dystrophy Associaton.

 

Guest Author: John Agar | jagar@mlive.com
on December 14, 2016, at 9:11 AM

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A former union official for letter carriers blamed a gambling addiction for his theft of $9,000 intended for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Brian Cisek embezzled proceeds of two charity golf outings he organized in 2013 and 2014, court records said. Cisek, 47, was sentenced this week to two years on probation and fined $3,000. He has already repaid the money he took. He has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 28 years and wanted to avoid a prison sentence to hopefully keep his job, said his attorney, Donald Garthe.

He said his client is receiving treatment for a gambling addiction. Advisory sentencing guidelines called for zero to six months in prison for theft of union funds. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker sentenced Cisek.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler did not object to a probation officer’s recommendation that Cisek not be incarcerated to give him a chance at success in recovery. Stiffler said Cisek served as sergeant at arms and chairman of the National Association of Letter Carrier’s Branch 56 Muscular Dystrophy Association Committee from 2012 to 2015. Its major fundraisers were golf outings. Cisek was committee chairman of two golf events.

Instead of depositing proceeds into established union accounts, he opened a new account as sole signer.  He had obtained a $15,000 personal loan from Lending Club in November 2012.  The following February, the MDA fund held $1.03. He then tried to make a payment to Lending Tree from that account but there were insufficient funds.

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A few days later, he sought a $500 advance from the union to cover costs of the upcoming golf outing. The money, instead, was sent to Lending Club. Branch members became suspicious in early 2014 because the Postal Service newsletter did not say how much money had been raised in 2013 for MDA.

Questions were raised that fall, too, after the branch president contacted MDA, and found out it had not received any funds. When confronted, Cisek said the savings account had been compromised, and the bank would not allow access to it. Cisek provided a back-dated $9,100 personal check that ultimately bounced.

He then provided a $9,200 cashier’s check. Cisek apologized and resigned his union post. The federal prosecutor said it was unclear how Cisek obtained the money but his attorney said he borrowed it from his in-laws, court records show.

“Cisek has accepted responsibility for his actions, demonstrated that he is remorseful, guilt-ridden and sorry for his crime and repaid the money he owes,” Stiffler wrote.

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“I am a firm believer in two things…. “Hate the Addiction, Not the Addict”  and we all deserve a second chance in life as no one person is perfect. Even those who fall prey to Addictions.”

Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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