A brief look at crime 8/24 – 8/30

Gambler son ordered tried in parents’ slayings

A professional gambler was ordered to stand trial Friday on charges that he murdered his parents in their Pleasanton country club home in hopes of reaping an early inheritance to pay off mounting gaming and other debts.  Witnesses testified that the younger Scherer had been in a desperate financial situation and stood to gain $1.5 million from his parents’ inheritance. Scherer III’s grandfather testified on video that the defendant was a compulsive gambler who “could not be trusted with large sums of money,” the judge said.  The victims were beaten and stabbed.  Their pajama-clad bodies were found a week later.

Couple at Joliet casino charged with leaving kids in van

A Chicago couple who left their two boys in their van at a Joliet casino were cited over the weekend for leaving children in an unattended vehicle, police said.  Ibarra told police he had gone into the casino to find Ayala, who was gambling, police said. Harrah’s management called police after casino security saw the children, whose ages were unavailable, in the van about 12:40 a.m., police said.

Teen gambling addict took bank cards to pay off debts

A 19-YEAR-OLD former gambling addict who tried to take nearly £8,000 from his father’s bank account to pay off debts has been put behind bars for seven months.  Kendall owed £9,000 and struggled to pay huge interest rates, Plymouth magistrates heard.  Because of his age and income he had to take out loans with extremely high interest rates. The debt kept escalating and he was absolutely desperate.” “Even worse than that he had two loans from loan sharks of £200 each at extremely high interest rates and now owed £1,000 on each. He was absolutely desperate to pay them back. They were making physical threats to him and threatened to attack his girlfriend, who lived with him.”

Shareholder accuses MGM Mirage execs of selling shares while withholding facts

Casino operator MGM Mirage is facing a federal lawsuit from a shareholder who says the company’s executives misled investors about its financial position and profited from selling stock at high prices. Lawyers for Robert Lowinger, who bought stock during the 18-month period, said MGM Mirage insiders sold personal stock worth nearly $90 million at high prices before reports of financial problems at the company and its largest development became public.

Gambling Ring Busted Up At Social Club In Michigan

Illegal gambling operations come in many different size and colors. They are set up in houses, restaurants, bars, and in the case of Warren, Michigan, a social club. That is where the latest police crackdown on illegal gambling activity took place. Warren police raided the Ryan Palace Social Club on Wednesday night. Their investigation has been going on for six months, and on Wednesday they arrested the owner of the club.

Police: Man Scams $2.5M From Women – Claimed He Needed Investors For Auto Safety Device, Coal Mines

A man has been arrested and accused of swindling $2.5 million from six women whom he met in bars and casinos over the past four years, Scottsdale police said. Leombroni previously was convicted of fraud schemes in 1994 from Cochise County and spent two years in prison.  He has also admitted that he has a gambling addiction, police said.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot shows no leniency to robber

A serial bank robber who was turned in by his son blamed gambling for his crimes. His defense attorney told the judge he has a gambling addiction. The judge said it is paramount society be protected.  “He wasted no time going back to robbing banks,” the judge said. “David Siany admits he has been gambling compulsively since he was 16,”

State fines Gulfstream Park $800,000

The state has fined Gulfstream Park $800,000 for security failures that allowed employees to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from slot machines by using free-play cards.  The penalty follows a two-year inquiry by the state — and a criminal investigation that resulted in the conviction of one employee for cheating and organized fraud. Other employees were fired or suspended but not charged.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation concluded that the park also owes $144,000 in back taxes — an issue the regulation department is still looking into with the help of the attorney general’s office, Ross said.

US Postal Workers, Part Of Gambling Ring In New York, Are Arrested

Another branch of the US Government took a publicity hit on Thursday when US postal workers in New York were arrested as part of a sting operation on an illegal lotto gambling operation that was being run at the US postal service. Hundreds of people played the illegal lottery game, including Department of Sanitation city workers.

Man tricks children’s charity out of £8,180

A gambling addict has been given a suspended prison sentence after he defrauded a charity for terminally ill children out of more than £8,000.  Detective Inspector Mark Fairhurst from the SECU, said: “While many people raise funds for good causes legitimately, Gary Ferris used money he had raised for charity to fund his gambling habits.

“He took advantage of people wanting to donate money to help ill children and in doing so undermined the reputation of the Hopes & Dreams charity.  After he was arrested in August last year, Ferris admitted during police interviews that he had an online gambling addiction that had left him tens of thousands of pounds in debt and resulted in the loss of his house and car.

Tucson Man Arrested in Alleged $1.5M Fraud

Scottsdale police say they’ve arrested a 47-year-old Tucson man they suspect used a scam to defraud several women of more than $1.5 million in the past four years. Police say Leombroni has a previous fraud conviction and spent two years in prison. He admitted to detectives that he has a gambling addiction and has met his victims at various bars and casinos.

Coast Guard Official Embezzled Over $1.4 Million

A senior U.S. Coast Guard Academy athletics department official embezzled more than $1.4 million from a student sports fund to pay gambling debts before killing himself in March. Shortly before he was found dead in his car of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Alex Simonka admitted to federal investigators that he took $1.4 million between 2004 and 2009. He acknowledged that he misappropriated an additional amount. The academy did not elaborate on his gambling activities.

Indiana man pleads guilty to embezzling from estate of World War II veteran

Jeffrey Choate pleaded guilty on Friday to charges he gambled away thousands of dollars from the estate of his step-grandfather, a decorated World War II veteran.  In exchange for Choate’s plea, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office dropped two, more serious charges of embezzling $100,000 or more. The office also required Choate to turn over to Michael Sierminski’s estate more than $400,000 in U.S. savings bonds, which Choate had earlier tried unsuccessfully to cash.  Choate made nine wire transfers of at least $10,000 to the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo.  The older Sierminski was wounded while serving in the Philippines during World War II and went to church every Sunday.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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