Thursday, July 11, 2013

Grandma the Gambler

Say it isn't so, Grandma.

Knowing gamblers, I'm surprised she left him that much. 40 Grand? That's a lot if you're a gambler.

"Grandma Charged with Stealing and Gambling Away Grandson's College Fund"

June 08, 2012(Associated Press) A 73-year-old woman has been found in Louisiana after being charged with stealing and gambling away $97,000 from a trust fund for her grandson's college education, authorities said, but she may never return to Indiana for prosecution.

Edna Sue Pate was wanted in Indiana, where the charges were filed, but authorities there said they would not have her brought there to face the charges. Officials in that state had been ordered to extradite her only if she was found in a surrounding state, which would not include Louisiana.

Messages seeking comment with Lake County, Ind., Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan were not returned Thursday and Friday.

Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said deputies found Pate at a home in the northern Louisiana town of Minden on Wednesday. Sexton said his agency would arrest Pate if authorities in Indiana decided they wanted to have her taken there for prosecution — assuming she stayed at the same home in Minden.

"I have no reason to monitor her at this point," Sexton said. "If they wanted her, they just had to tell me (Wednesday) they wanted her. As far as I'm concerned she's a free lady. She can leave. She can go anywhere."

A probable cause affidavit filed last month by Griffith, Ind., police Detective James Sibley says Pate withdrew more than $97,000 from 2004 to 2007 from a trust fund account opened in 2003 under the name of her grandson, Christian Patrick Kenneth Smith.

The documents say Pate was a trustee on the account but did not have consent to use its funds for any purpose other than Smith's post-secondary education. The documents also say Smith was the sole beneficiary.

The court records claim Pate was known to frequent Indiana casinos and had set up a separate account in 2009 from which she made 49 withdrawals totaling more than $6,000 through April 2010, when the account was closed with a "negative balance."

The court records say 30 withdrawals from that account were made from ATMs at two casinos in Indiana. Records from one of the casinos, Majestic Star II in Gary, show Pate lost more than $93,000 during that time period.

Sibley did not return a message left by The Associated Press.

Smith's father, Tom Smith, who is a private investigator in Griffith, said he wasn't surprised by the decision because he knew Lake County authorities would extradite the woman only from surrounding states because of the expense. He said he found out several months ago she was in Louisiana and asked the Lake County prosecutor's office to extradite her.

"I tried to pressure them. I picketed. I did an e-mail campaign to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office," he said. "If I call them I get routed to voice mail."

Smith said he is frustrated by the lack of help from the Lake County officials, saying there was $40,000 left in the account when he sued Pate in 2008.

"If I had gotten any support from the Lake County Sheriff's Department or the probate court to reopen the trust, my son would still have some money," he said. "It's all very frustrating. I've tried for seven years to try to get someone to pay attention to it."

A residential listing for a Pate on Methodist Camp Road was unavailable.

Tom Smith said the civil lawsuit can't proceed until Pate is brought to Lake County.

"I want her to answer for this so other people realize they can't do this. And that's what my son wants," Smith said.

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.