Former Pennsylvania drilling firm executive who stole $9M to feed gambling habit gets 8 years

Associated Press

A former western Pennsylvania drilling company chief operating officer who embezzled millions of dollars to feed his casino gambling habit has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 54-year-old Larry Dean Winckler stole more than $9 million from Falcon Drilling LLC.

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Winckler was ordered at his sentencing Friday to pay $9 million in restitution plus $1.2 million in taxes, interest and penalties.

He acknowledged he had checks written to himself from the Indiana County company's bank accounts. He and another company official sent letters to auditors claiming to not know anything about the missing money.

Winckler pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and income tax fraud in February.

Defense attorney Martin Dietz says "every penny" of the thefts was driven by Winckler's casino gambling addiction.