Prosecutorial Overreach In ATM Gambling Case?

Due to a glitch in data hand-off when Bank of America acquired LaSalle Bank, a Detroit man was able to take overdrafts totalling $1.5 million before Bank of America caught the problem just 17 days later. Worse, the man, Ronald Page, gambled it all away.

Page, who does not have a prior record, could have faced a steeper sentence but prosecutors said his crime was a "lapse of judgment" and placed blame with Bank of America for allowing the withdrawals to take place.

The prosecutor is recommending a 15-month sentence and ordering Page to repay the money. One could argue whether this is a just verdict but it's hard to suggest the prosecutor over-stepped. Page knowingly took money that wasn't his. It's the rest of the recommendation that raises questions.

In addition to the recommended 15-month sentence and order to repay the funds, the U.S. Attorney's Office has suggested that Page be prohibited from gambling in any capacity. "If his gambling addiction is not addressed, he is very likely to cause further financial hardship to himself and his family," the memorandum reads.

Gambling addiction, or not, Page gambled legally. Michigan voters legalized gambling at a limited number of casinos in 1996. For better, or worse, Page has as much right to gamble in Detroit, as any other citizen of the United States who meets whatever criteria that might exist.

Not only is Page's presumed gambling addiction unlikely to be cured by an act of law. The line between the rule and law and the nanny state has become blurred.


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