Phoenix woman pays restitution after husband wins at casino

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Three elderly victims received several hundred thousand dollars in restitution after Kimberly Lemke's husband won a slot machine jackpot at a local casino. Lemke was in prison from 2007 to 2009 on theft and fraud charges. By Mike Gertzman Three elderly victims received several hundred thousand dollars in restitution after Kimberly Lemke's husband won a slot machine jackpot at a local casino. Lemke was in prison from 2007 to 2009 on theft and fraud charges. By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Three elderly victims received several hundred thousand dollars in restitution after a Phoenix woman’s husband had a lucky run at a local casino.

Kimberly Lemke paid the victims $361,184.76 following Gerald Phillips Jr.’s $5.7 million jackpot win at Casino Arizona at the Loop 101 and McKellips Road on April 13. 

Lemke was convicted of felony theft charges in 2007 for cheating the victims out of nearly $370,000 and served two years in prison. She had only paid back a small amount of the restitution, and was in arrears through most of her probation.

A daughter of one of the victims learned of Phillips’ winnings while watching television and alerted the Attorney General’s Office that he was Lemke’s husband.

Lemke admitted to 3TV that she took advantage of the three victims over several years, and said she intended to pay the restitution before authorities contacted her.

"I did my time, I messed up, I made a mistake and I'm paying for it the rest of my life," Lemke said. "Even when this is all said and done and they are paid off, I'm still going to always have this feeling in my heart that I don't feel like I owe what I owed to each one of these victims, maybe one of them, yes."

She said she took money from her victims because she was a single mom of five, desperate to make ends meet.

A racketeering-restitution lien was recorded against the casino winnings and served upon Lemke on April 27. 

The next day Lemke called Assistant Attorney General Charles Johnson and left a voicemail message confirming that she had received the lien and would pay it off in full. 

“This case has a happy ending because of an unexpected windfall,” Attorney General Tom Horne said. “I want to recognize the hard work of our attorneys and our victims’ rights advocates to ensure that the victims in this matter finally received the full restitution they deserved.” 

Lemke says while the money has helped her family pay the restitution and other debts, it is not a cure-all to their problems.

"Everybody thinks, 'oh...she's doing great, she got over on us.' That's not the case at all. When you go to prison and it ruins your whole life forever with a felony, that's not something to be proud about," she said.

Lemke's husband, Phillips, is also an ex-convict. He served time in prison for multiple offenses.

The couple plans to spend some of their winnings on a new house.