Addiction to gambling shows up at blackjack tables, horse tracks, and sports pools. So why not in the commodities pits? That's the argument of convicted felon Roy William Harris, who lost $200 million of his company's money trading in oil commodities in 1991. As CEO of a now-defunct Stamford (Conn.) oil trading firm called Arochem, Harris cooked the books to cover up his losses, prosecutors say.
Harris is asking a federal judge for a lighter term than the 15 to 24 years he can expect for bank and wire fraud. At his sentencing hearing July 18, his lawyer argued that Harris traded under a "diminished capacity" due to his compulsion. Defense witness Valerie Lorenz, executive director of the Compulsive Gambling Center, testified that Harris' trades became riskier as he tried to recoup. Example: He made $60 million in one trade, only to keep trading and lose.