Prosecutors point to Tran's gambling debt as motive - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Prosecutors point to Tran's gambling debt as motive

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Government prosecutors quizzed Nick Tran Tuesday about gambling debts and whether he followed procedures at his Biloxi pharmacy where he's accused of filling illegal prescriptions.

Tran took the stand in federal court Tuesday to defend himself against conspiracy and drug charges.

The cross examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie became contentious at times as Tran drifted off topic and rambled when questioned. Meynardie had to keep reminding Tran to answer his questions.

In morning testimony, Tran defended himself telling the court, "Why would I risk everything?"

Meynardie addressed that and Tran's possible motive by asking him about his gambling habit. The prosecutor asked, "Did you have significant gambling losses?"

"Yeah, I lost some money gambling," Tran replied.

Meynardie asked, "Isn't it true you lost $125,000 at Beau Rivage from November 2006 to January 2008?"

"I don't know." said Tran.

The government then produced a document from Beau Rivage Casino with Nick Tran's name on it, confirming he had lost $125,000.

Meynardie continued, "Isn't it true you lost $108,000 at Grand Casino in 2007?"

Again Tran said, "I don't know."

"Isn't it true you lost money?"

"Yeah, I lost money," Tran said.

When asked why he spent so much time gambling, Tran admitted having problems with a girlfriend in 2007 and confessed, "I would go and escape the pain and went gambling."

The government worked to dispute Tran's morning testimony when he told the court, "I do everything by the book."

Meynardie asked Tran, why as a pharmacist, didn't the large number or narcotics prescriptions raise any suspicions.

Tran replied, "Every time there was red flag, I'd pick up the phone and call the doctor and verify the prescription."

Under cross examination, Tran admitted that he never officially put his part-time employee on the payroll. Tran said he paid Whert White cash and did not pay government payroll taxes on White. Tran said he intended to, but "never got around to it."

Meynardie reminded Tran of his words, 'I do everything by the book.'

"Do you remember that Mr. Tran? I guess you don't do everything by the book do you?"

The court proceedings took a short break about 3:45pm, but Tran continued testify after that break.

Closing arguments are set for Wednesday morning, after which the jury will begin deliberations.

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