Former Drilling Executive Faces More Than 7 Years Behind Bars for $9M Theft

The former chief operating officer of a western Pennsylvania drilling company faces more than seven years in prison when he's sentenced for embezzling more than $9 million to feed his casino gambling habit.

Fifty-four-year-old Larry Dean Winckler pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and income tax fraud in February and was to be sentenced in July. But that was delayed until Friday because of thyroid cancer, which is now in remission.

Winckler acknowledged he had checks written to himself from the bank accounts of Falcon Drilling LLC in Indiana County and that he and another company official sent bogus letters to auditors claiming to not know anything about the stolen money.

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

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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