Hollywood Casino embezzler sentenced to community service

POSTED: 09/1/11 2:54 PM

Company’s attorney outraged about light sentence

St. Maarten – The Fun is definitely over for Seraphin Ann Marlin, a 35-year-old who embezzled $660,000 from her former employer, the Hollywood Casino and who used the money to build Kids Funland in Cole Bay and to buy her husband a garage, including a 120,000-guilder hydraulic bridge.
Last week the marshal locked Kids Funland, and Hollywood Casino put a lien on all other assets. Marlin’s husband divorced her, she obviously lost her job as head of the finance department at the casino, and she stands to lose her house because she is no longer able to pay her mortgage.
On top, the Court in First Instance sentenced Marlin yesterday morning to a 2-year conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation and 240 hours of community service.
Civil law attorney mr. Wim Van Sambeek, who represents the Hollywood Casino, was outraged yesterday about the verdict, which followed prosecutor mr. B. den Hartigh’s demand – the only difference being that the prosecutor demanded 1 year less of probation. “This is a license for employees to keep robbing their employers,” Van Sambeek said. “This woman has not paid back a penny during the past nine months. Embezzlement of this magnitude warrants time in prison. Sentences like this won’t deter others from doing the same thing.”

According to prosecutor Den Hartigh the damages Hollywood Casino suffered at the hands of its employee are actually higher than the number of $660,000 mentioned in the indictment. A review of the books shows that Marlin embezzled close to $880,000 over a four year period that started in October 2007 and came to an end on November 28 of last year when the Casino’s management finally got suspicious over a payment order to a party in the United States.
Marlin was arrested on December 9 and released from custody on December 30. The plan was to reopen Kids Funland and to give the defendant the opportunity to start paying back. But when the Hollywood Casino did not receive a penny during the past eight months, it finally decided to put a lien on the place and close it down. The Casino will now attempt to get as much of its money back through an executorial sale of the property.
Marlin said in court that she used to change the name of the beneficiary on checks signed by her superiors, sending payments to her own companies, and that on occasion she forged signatures. She told the police that her husband was unaware of what she was doing. A garage that was registered in her name was actually her husband’s business, she said.
“I was always hoping to repay everything before I got caught,” Marlin told the court. Later she added that she wants to repay her former employer within five years. “I worked so hard and now I am about to lose everything. I am asking for a second chance.”

Judge mr. M. Keppels doubted the credibility of these statements. “Yes, you intend to pay back but it is not happening.”
Prosecutor den Hartigh said that there is legal and convincing evidence that Marlin embezzled the money from Hollywood Casino. “You abused the trust the company put in you,” he said. “You used the money to start your own business and a garage for your husband. It is unclear whether a part of the money went elsewhere.”
Den Hartigh said that civil action has been brought against the defendant. There is a lien on all her assets, including Kids Funland. “It is doubtful whether you’ll be able to continue with the company, because there will be an executorial auction,” he said. “This is about a lot of money and it is rather naive to think that you will be able to pay this back. It is not possible to earn this kind of money in your lifetime.”
Marlin’s attorney mr. C.H.J. Merx labeled the case as a drama. “We have made two proposals for repayment, but in the meantime the other party has resorted to civil action. My client has to pay back but this is impossible because there is a lien on everything.”
Merx said that Hollywood Casino was pursuing repayment “aggressively” and wondered whether it is necessary to bring someone completely to his knees. “Where are the limits of reasonableness?”
Merx cast some doubt over the real position his client had as an employee and who her real employer was – the Hollywood Casino or another legal entity. “This makes it unclear from whom she embezzled the money,” Merx said.
The attorney said that everybody had dropped his client, including her husband for whom she had bought a garage with a hydraulic bridge that had cost 120,000 guilders. He has divorced her and he does not care about the children,” Merx said. “Why is he not on trial as an accomplice?”
Judge Keppels considered for some time whether the defendant ought to be sent back to prison, because of the enormity of the embezzlement. But in the end the judge decided against this and settled for the 2 year conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation and 240 hours of community service. Merx said that his client wants to do her community service at the White and Yellow Cross.

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