A Darwin SKYCITY Casino worker and his brother-in-law have been sentenced to home detention after stealing a customer's winning Keno ticket worth more than $53,000.
When a customer presented the ticket worth $53,353.60 on September 27 last year, SKYCITY employee Michael John Rich Tomas, 35, told him the ticket had not won anything when he knew it had and pocketed it.
He drove his brother-in-law Jonathan De Guzman, 36, to the casino the next day to cash it in.
However, the scheme came unstuck when the casino employee that De Guzman presented the ticket to became suspicious after remembering he had sold the ticket to someone else, the court heard.
Police were alerted and discovered $50,000 deposited in De Guzman's bank account along with about $6000 in cash at his home.
CCTV footage at the casino showed Tomas going to "great lengths" to hide the ticket and eventually discretely take it with him.
Tomas had breached the trust of his employer, where he had worked for 15 years rising from a relatively low level food and beverage attendant to a supervisor in the Keno with significant financial responsibility.
Crown prosecutor Naomi Loudon said it was important a message was sent to the community and particularly respected workers with financial responsibility that if they "act in a dishonest way" there were consequences and the courts did not accept such conduct.
The mens' lawyer Thelma Gray said Tomas was not motivated by personal financial gain and was helping his brother-in-law De Guzman, who was under financial and emotional stress.
De Guzman's marriage had ended, he had limited access to his children, a daughter had died in 2007 and he had depressive and PTSD symptoms, she said.
"It was out of character and a spur of the moment decision ... it was not a crime that was going to unnoticed," she said.
In Darwin Local Court on Tuesday, Tomas received a 10-month jail sentence and De Guzman eight months after pleading guilty to obtaining a benefit for deception, but they will be released after serving five months and four months respectively in home detention.
The true winner has been paid in full but the two men will also have to pay back an outstanding $7,353.60.