Pleasant Monday with highs in the low 70s

Woman steals $800,000 and gambles it all away

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LAWTON, Okla. - Bank robberies and gambling landed a Lawton mother in federal prison.

Maria Martin was convicted of stealing $847,942.50.

A judge sentenced her to 33 months in prison with five years supervised release.

Mikelann Blann said, "I think that`s a ridiculous amount of money."

Martin was supposed to bring some of the money to the EZ Go gas station where Blann works, but when Blann saw Martin's photo, it clicked.

She knew Martin outside of work.

"She was my girl scout leader when I was younger," said Blann. "So I remember her as the sweet lady that I looked up to."

Prosecutors know her as the large scale ATM thief.

Martin worked for A&H Security where she transported money from Arvest Bank and Fort Sill Credit Union to EZ Go gas station ATMs.

However, in 2011, Martin started keeping the money.

Instead of dropping it off, she'd spend it at casions around Lawton. Prosecutors say she came to play ten times one day.

She would spend up to $70,000 on a single slot machine.

US Attorney Sanford Coats said, "It`s just outrageous."

Coats says it all came out when the ATMs came up empty, leaving two layers of victims in the wake of the scheme.

"Obviously, you have the banks and financial institutions whose money was taken, and over $800,000 in course of the scheme, but the other layer of victim is the company that she worked for. This was a company that was a small business, very successful, had been around for many years, decades. They lost a lot of trust from their clients, and lost a lot of business," said Coats.

A&H Security wasn't available for comment.

Martin`s attorney, Don Herring, argues she too was a victim of her gambling addiction.

Herring said, "She had no prior criminal history. She was a home run mother, an outstanding law abiding citizen, and I think that's what the tragedy is int his case. It just points out what can happen when somebody develops a gambling problem."

She'll be in a Texas federal prison for another 30 months.

Blann expressed her sympathy stating, "I hope she gets help."

She'll also have to pay back the money she stole from the banks.

All of which she lost at the slots.