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According to a military court, a clerk at Windsor military base defrauded his unit to finance gambling at the local casino. ((CBC))

A Saskatchewan-based soldier with 25 years of military service has been reduced in rank and sentenced to 21 days in prison for ripping off the military while he was stationed in Windsor, Ont.

Sgt. Kenneth Martinook, 49, was sentenced by a military court on Jan. 13, after pleading guilty to fraud charges laid in 2010.

Martinook was reduced in rank to Corporal.

"He spent all the money he defrauded from the unit on gambling," the sentencing decision noted. Martinook worked as the chief clerk at the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Windsor during the time of the fraud.

According to the decision, Martinook's history of gambling began innocently enough with a handful of visits to a local casino when he was posted in Halifax.

However, the gambling escalated to three or four visits every week to play electronic slot machines, or VLTs.

During the time he was posted to Windsor, the clerk issued cheques to himself, a total of 15 in varying amounts, to finance play at the local casino, racetrack and VLTs.

According to the decision, the sergeant recognized he had a problem and took some counselling.

However, "this was the time period during which the offender was cashing nearly all of the cheques he drew on the unit funds."

In a ten-month span, he burned through $17,945.

It wasn't until Martinook was posted to Saskatchewan, when he again sought counselling, that he was able to curtail the habit.

It was also while Martinook was in Saskatchewan that officials in Windsor uncovered the fraud at their base, investigated and laid a charge.

Despite the connection to gambling, the sentencing decision said Martinook was not suffering from any pathological condition.

"I do not see any basis on which to reasonably conclude that the offender was desperate for money to feed a gambling addiction at the time of this offence," the presiding officer wrote.

"I am satisfied that his plea of guilty to this charge and heartfelt public apology to his former unit, delivered in the course of his testimony, demonstrate genuine remorse on the part of the offender for his actions," the decision also said.

Officials said the time would be served at a military prison in Edmonton.