By: Michael Cocchiola, Williamsville Wellness

Gambling can take a strong hold on people’s lives, especially when it turns into an addiction. Many people don’t understand gambling addiction, but those who have suffered or suffer from it, know how much it can ruin your life if not brought under control.

Recently Agatha Martin Williams, an Ohio lawyer, was sentenced to eight years in prison for the misappropriation of $170,000, which was largely due to a gambling addiction. Williams through a variety of methods swindled her clients’ money and also lied under oath that she hadn’t gambled in over a year. After the investigators tracked her bank accounts, they discovered that she had gambled in the two months leading up to the trial. She also went gambling the three days after pleading guilty to multiple felonies.

Williams had tried treatment previously and her past counselors noted that she had a history of major depression, gambling addiction and an impulse-control disorder. Williams never completed a period of successful treatment though, because she frequently gambled even during her treatment programs. Since she never successfully went through treatment her mental disorders did not help her trial at all. Deemed as a threat to the public and showing no commitment to recovery, Williams was disbarred from practicing law in Ohio as well as serving her prison sentence time.

Williams draws an interesting parallel to Art Schlichter who conducted similar acts in order to fund his gambling addiction. Schlichter, ex-Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts quarterback, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for a sports ticket scam.

Schlichter’s NFL career was cut short due to his gambling addiction. This goes to show that Schlichter never cured his addiction and it continues to haunt him to this day. He would collect thousands of dollars for NFL and college game tickets, but never delivered the tickets to the people that paid for them. Instead he would spend the money on debts, personal expenses and his ongoing gambling addiction.

One thing to note is that Schlichter has a history of brain concussions from his football days that have totaled around 14-15 to date. These might explain some of his uncontrolled spending habits and impulsive behavior.

Williams and Schlichter not only ruined their own lives by their uncontrolled gambling addiction, but also the lives of many others that they stole from in order to fuel their addiction. They also had a history of mental problems that may have contributed to their ongoing addictions. The mental problems were kind of brushed aside during the trial, but it makes sense that it contributed in some way to their gambling addiction.

In the future, it would be wise for both Williams and Schlichter to undergo intensive treatment to end gambling addiction for good and hopefully get their lives back on track.


Gambling Matters
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