LAS VEGAS (AP) — A longtime aide to the top prosecutor in Las Vegas blamed a gambling habit for taking nearly $42,000 from her boss's campaign and was permitted to repay the money instead of facing criminal charges.
Audrie Locke, the community liaison and spokeswoman for Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she wrote checks to herself in 2014 after taking the campaign's checkbook from his office.
Locke told the newspaper she had financial troubles at the time because of her addiction to video poker and was not well emotionally because her mother, three friends and two dogs had died.
"I have a gambling problem . So there's a lot of money issues that come with that, and that's what happened," she said. "The gambling spiraled. And if you talk to anybody who's ever had a gambling problem, the first challenge that they have is recovering financially."
Locke, who was a paid staffer on Wolfson's 2014 campaign, was also earning about $80,000 a year in her job at Wolfson's office.
Wolfson, who is running for re-election this year, defended his decision to not prosecute Locke, whom he described as a "trusted employee" for 14 years dating to when he was a councilman in Las Vegas. He said he used his "discretion" as the victim in declining to pursue charges.
"She's been the best employee I've ever had in 37 years, times 10," he said. "If I could have a hundred Audries, I would love to have a hundred Audries."
Wolfson discovered the theft in August 2014. He and Locke said she repaid the campaign within two weeks of the discovery. She quit her job at the district attorney's office that month and entered a gambling addiction program.
The newspaper reported she was hired back two months later.