There aren’t many Canadian gamblers more famous than Brian Molony, although the majority of you may know him better by the fictitious name, Dan Mahowny. He’s the surreptitious (former) manager of a Big Five bank in Canada who was convicted of embezzling millions from his employers to fund exorbitant trips to casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
The exploits of Brian Molony were grievous indeed, but did not become nearly so famous until Gary Stephen Ross was inspired to author the best-selling nonfiction book, Stung, sharing the tale of his duplicitous gambling addiction. That, in turn, led to the multi-award nominated 2003 film, Owning Mahowny, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dan Mahowny.
Brian Molony – Doomed from the Start
Although it was never Molony’s intention to travel the baleful path of addiction and self-destruction, his problematic ways started at the young of ten. By then, the Toronto native was already a big fan of the race track, and soon became the local bookie for his school mates.
Brian was an extremely intelligent young man. He had a way with numbers, a passion for writing, and a dream to become a financial journalist. When he graduated from the University of of Western Ontario, however, he scored so high on his aptitude test for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) that they invited him to join their management trainee program straight out of college.
He accepted, and started out by learning all the ins and outs of the business. He moved up very quickly from teller, to savings, foreign exchange and loan accounts, before being entrusted as a “floating” manager across the CIBC’s enormous network of 1,600+ banking branches.
It Was Just Too Easy…
Although he had a great job, it didn’t pay all that well – abut $10k per year. He didn’t have fancy clothes, and was known to carefully budget the little money that he had. While his frugal appearance back home in Toronto remained unchanged, he was actually covering up an enormous secret.
Brian Molony had access to pretty much anything and everything in the CIBC, making it incredibly easy – and all too tempting – for him to embezzle money. When the Canadian gambler in him became too strong to resist, that’s exactly what he did.
He began by approving false loans, then depositing that money into an account set up by the Las Vegas casino, Desert Palace, for the sole purpose of allowing players to make discretionary deposits. The exorbitant betting and first-class style he exuded in Atlantic City and Las Vegas earned him thousands of dollars worth comps from Caesars; everything from luxury hotel rooms to flights on the casino’s personal Lear jet.
Molony had already lost millions of dollars at that point, but he just couldn’t stop. He was determined to win it all back. He even promised himself he would repay the CIBC and quit gambling as soon as he won enough to do it. But that, of course, never happened.
Authorities Catch Up To Molony
On April 26, 1972, Brian Molony was at the Caesars Atlantic City. He had a bad run that day – one of the worst he’d ever experienced – losing a million dollars at the tables. The following morning, it was all over.
Brian was arrested by federal officers on April 27, 1982, charged with embezzling over $10 million from the CIBC. In November of 1983, he pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison. Upon release, he began community service for restitution, including traveling North America to speak about the woes of gambling addiction.
According to reports, the infamous Canadian gambler has straightened up his life. Brian Molony is now married with children, and works as a private business consultant.