PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dealers at the Rivers and other casinos are under constant surveillance — and last year, then 26-year-old Mathew Eisenberg was caught skimming $200 from patrons.
“Just had some expenses and unfortunately he thought that was the way he way to solve the problem and he learned his lesson like lot of people do,” his attorney Michael Santicola said.
Eisenberg was fired, arrested and convicted — given a year’s probation and ordered to pay restitution.
But under the State Gaming Act, the judge was required to impose a minimum $75,000 fine and a maximum of $150,000.
And Santicola is fighting that all the way to the state’s top court and will argue his case tomorrow.
“We’re arguing in front of the Supreme Court that that is cruel and usual punishment,” he said.
Although other casino employees in the state have been charged with theft, Eisenberg is the first to be prosecuted under the gaming act and District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s office calls it fair.
“We believe that the crime fits the statute as written and we believe that the General Assembly wrote the statute to protect the integrity of the casino process,” Zappala said. “We also believe that it’s important for patrons of the casino to know that there is a process in place to keep them from being ripped off and to deter the type of behavior.”
“I think it’s going to follow him around for the rest of his life,” he said. “There are people whop don’t have $75,000 dollars in student loans and it takes them 20 years to pay that off.”
And even though the court rarely strikes down law passed by the legislature — Santicola believe he has a chance
“It does not fit the crime in our opinion,” Santicola said.