2006_10_14_gavel.jpg Gambling can be a terrible addiction, but it can also be a good excuse when you need your sentance to be reduced. Yesterday former cop Thomas Rachko, 46, found out just how good an excuse it can be when a Bronx judge sentanced him to 7 years in prison after he led a a ring of cops who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug dealers.

When caught Rachko, in his defense, helped out the authorities and led cops to 68K that had been stashed in a trash bin in the Bronx. And according to his lawyer everything he stole he gambled away just as quickly. His addiction even led to the dissolution of his marriage because he was "greedy for that money, almost like a junkie would be for a bag of heroin."

Because of his position as an officer when he was stealing the money, Rachko could have been sentenced to a life in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. However the judge on the case, while pointing out that the crimes were "extraordinarily grave," seemed to be touched by Rachko's remorse and contrition, and so gave him a generously short sentence (and a fine of $10,000).

Gavel by mwoodman on flickr.