An Ex- Casino Worker Gets 21
Months for Theft
Source: The Miami
Boxing champ and disgraced casino worker Ada Velez
was sentenced Thursday to 21 months in prison after
pleading guilty last month to grand theft.
The 37-year-old single mother was busted for giving
away more than $100,000 worth of free play vouchers
at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, where she was
a casino service representative, between March and
August of 2006.
addition to the prison time, Velez will be on
probation for 10 years.
also must pay a portion of nearly $600,000 in
While players at the casino were supposed to be
limited to $250 worth of vouchers for electronic
gaming machines every month, an investigation showed
that she handed out far more to regulars.
Velez said she received tips when she gave out the
Five other people, all customers, were charged with
grand theft. Three pleaded guilty and got five years
probation: Terri Mallard, 40; Harry Baldassarre, 74,
and Reinelda Baldassarre, 83.
others, Delray Beach couple Luis Alicea, 49, and
Carmen Alverio, 65, have pleaded not guilty and are
21-month sentence is the minimum that Broward
Circuit Judge Stanton Kaplan could have handed down,
although Velez's attorney asked him to consider an
even lower sentence: 18 months of house arrest, 42
months of probation, restitution and community
service, including talking to children about her
Attorney Barry Butin argued that Velez had never
been arrested before, did not commit the crime in a
sophisticated manner and showed remorse.
''She is sorry to the casino as she loved her job
and would have liked to work there forever,'' he
Butin wrote that Velez gave a lengthy statement to
''The gist of her statement is how much she wanted
to be loved, liked and thought of as a good
employee,'' he wrote. ``Also, she is naive as to the
desire to please others, basically strangers
Velez, who had boxed at the casino in Coconut Creek,
was the first Puerto Rican woman to win a world
boxing title. Known as ''Ace,'' she retired from
boxing in 2004 but returned to the ring in 2007.
More studies/stories on the
negative effects of
Worker Gets 21 months for Theft” Miami Herald,
February 15, 2008