$1000 fine for stealing $1.5m watch - Friday 12th of August 2005

A PROSTITUTE who stole a $1.5 million watch from the hotel suite of a Crown casino high roller has walked from court without conviction.

Former brothel worker Michelle Taylor, 21, admitted she swiped the diamond-studded watch from her wealthy client, but was now on the straight and narrow.

County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes accepted that Ms Taylor, who has quit the sex industry to become a dancer, had turned her life around.

Ms Taylor, who was once known as "Paris" to her clients, was yesterday fined $1000 after pleading guilty to the theft.

The court heard Ms Taylor swiped the wealthy gamblers diamond-studded Patek Philippe watch while he showered in a Crown Towers room in January last year.

Ms Taylor was working at the Daily Planet brothel in Elsternwick when she was hired as a $300-an-hour escort for high roller Hong Wei Han.

The court was told she rummaged through the suites bedside drawers and stole the watch after having sex with the Mahogany Room VIP.

The next day police raided her bedroom, found the watch hidden under her mattress and returned it to its owner. Ms Taylor later told investigators she thought the watch -- studded with sapphires and 580 diamonds -- was a fake.

She said she took it in anger after Mr Han performed a sex act to which she hadnt consented. She was unaware of the watchs value.

"I just wanted to hurt him, I guess," she told police.

Judge Rozenes said the story had received substantial media coverage and the public humiliation had strained an already fractured relationship with her family. The court heard Ms Taylors parents paid for an expensive secondary education for their daughter and had not approved of her lifestyle.

Ms Taylor admitted having two earlier convictions, including one for shoplifting from a supermarket. She has also admitted making a false rape report.

But Judge Rozenes said Ms Taylor was still young and had since reformed her ways.

"(You) have turned your life around," he said. "There is every reason to believe you will not be in court again."

He accepted the theft was spontaneous and that Ms Taylor had no idea of the value of the watch.

"In the end there was no real harm done, the watch having been returned to its rightful owner in a relatively short time," he said.

Other news from around the same time

Work gets humming for Project CityCenter - Friday 12th of August 2005

Like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, the cranes have returned to Las Vegas.Theyve swarmed the S....


Lobbyist Denies Guilt in Casino Purchase - Friday 12th of August 2005

Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist whose ties to prominent members of Congress are under scrutin....


ARMED RAID BY MASKED TRIO AT BOOKIES - Friday 12th of August 2005

Two female cashiers were left "shaken and upset" after three masked men held up a Chaddesden betting....


Catskill Casinos: An Issue Left in Limbo by Discord and Indecision - Friday 12th of August 2005

In recent months, residents and business owners who for years have longed for casinos have felt like....


George Clooney Making a Side Bet in Vegas - Friday 12th of August 2005

In the film "Oceans Eleven," George Clooney robbed a casino. Now hes going to build one.Clooney, nig....


Matthews startup placing its bets on $27.6 million IPO - Friday 12th of August 2005

two-year-old Matthews company hopes to raise as much as $27.6 million in an initial public offering....


Studies put casino cards on table - Friday 12th of August 2005

Let the jockeying begin. The release this week of two studies on the social and economic impact of c....


NAACP rep calls for diversity in casino management - Friday 12th of August 2005

A leader in Alton’s black community is urging the Illinois Gaming Board to ensure that Penn Nation....


Addicted N.S. casino gambler blows $500,000; says no safeguards to stop him - Friday 12th of August 2005

In three years, Paul Burrell gambled away nearly $500,000 of his life-savings at Casino Nova Scotia.....


40,000 euros offered for identities of online blackmailers - Friday 12th of August 2005

The online gambling site jaxx.de operated by Fluxx AG of Hamburg has been blackmailed since Sunday w....