Monthly Archives: September 2009

A brief look at crime 9/21 to 9/27/09

Police officer suspended after being allegedly being caught in gambling raid

A Shepherdsville police officer has been suspended after Hillview police say they caught him in a raid on an illegal gambling operation. They say a fake glass business was a front for gambling and that they found a makeshift casino inside.

Raid on cyber café in Ocala

Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies have raided a business in Ocala believed to have conducted illegal gambling activities.  According to investigators, Internet Express Cafe was earning between $1,200 and $2,600 a day by operating the gambling house.

Two Georgia Men Charged In Atlantic City Casino Heists

Richard Newman of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Gustavo Acuna of Gainesville, Georgia, were both arrested and are being held on $150,000 bail each after police caught the men. They are accused of pulling off a heist at three separate AC casinos.   Newman and Acuna were charged with unlawful taking, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a weapon, and money laundering.

Former banker pleads guilty to robbing banks

A former banker who eluded police for six years during a holdup spree in Toronto and southern Ontario pleaded guilty today to 10 counts of bank robbery.  Sentencing was postponed for a judge to consider submissions about Kevin John Pinto’s motive — financing his compulsive gambling “addiction,” defense lawyer Calvin Barry told court.  Suspected of pulling 26 heists ranging from $300 to $9,600, Pinto was nicknamed “the Exchange Bandit” by police for his habit of talking first with tellers about exchanging currency before robbing them.

Mariner booster confesses to stealing $46,000

Mariner High School’s Blue and Gold Club is scrambling to regroup after the nonprofit’s longtime treasurer confessed to embezzlement.  The treasurer told booster club president Renee Boyd that she had stolen about $46,000 over the past eight years, mainly to feed a gambling habit.  Students were left reeling in the wake, unsure of how they would pay for such extracurricular necessities as shoes and pads for various sports, transportation to competitions, activities for students in special education and, in the case of the French Club, an eagerly anticipated trip to Paris in the spring.   The Blue and Gold Club is the umbrella organization for many such fundraisers.

Students have individual accounts and work various jobs such as at local restaurants, and at Mariner and Seahawk games, as well as selling merchandise for fundraisers and helping run the concession stands at Marauder home games.   They don’t immediately see any of the fruits of their labor; instead the money is paid directly into their individual Blue and Gold Club account.   Now, many kids are discovering empty bank accounts, wondering how they’re going to fund the activities they’ve worked so hard to be a part of this year.   “Everyone is shocked and saddened,” Mukilteo School Board president and frequent Mariner volunteer Judy Schwab said.   “This is such a loss for those kids and parents – the kids have worked so hard, parents and kids alike have, to earn that money.”

Ex-Penrod treasurer charged with theft, forgery

A former treasurer accused of stealing nearly $382,000 from the Penrod Society may have blown the money on a gambling addiction, according to court documents filed Thursday.  Marion County prosecutors charged Brandon Benker, 28, with one count of theft and seven counts of forgery, all Class C felonies.

Former MHA admits to fraud, bribery

As an NDP MHA for eight years, Randy Collins advocated for the province’s poor and powerless, but on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to stealing from those same people, and bribing a public official to do so.  Collins overspent hundreds of thousands of dollars from his taxpayer-funded constituency allowance. The final tab came in at $358,598.

Ironically, Collins’ crimes appear to have helped support a social ill he crusaded strenuously against as an MHA. Tuesday, Collins pleaded guilty to bribing Murray, the top financial official at the legislature.  Murray told the Jim Walsh corruption trial he needed money to feed a $500-a-day VLT gambling habit.

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

Update: Planning commission approves zoning for north St. Louis County casino

Casino Watch Focus reported that the Spanish Lake area in North St Louis was holding meetings to determine zone eligibility for a new possible casino.  The St Louis Post Dispatch has reported the planning commission has approved the zone plan:

The St. Louis County Planning Commission on Monday unanimously backed a casino and entertainment complex along the Mississippi River in Spanish Lake.   More than 40 protesters opposed to the casino marched for about an hour in front of the County Administration Building in Clayton before the commission met.

“Eagles yes, casino no,” “save natural beauty,” “save our wildlife,” the pickets chanted.  Dora Gianoulakis, president of the Spanish Lake Community Association, which opposes the complex, said after the commission vote that the study called for low-intensity uses in the area, not an entertainment complex. The Rev. Harold Hendrick, a casino opponent, said the development would hurt the local environment and churches.

This alone does not mean a new casino will be coming to Spanish Lakes.  However, it was a necessary first step, and considering the Gaming Commission’s stand on opening up The President Casino’s gaming license, a new casino seems likely.  Please keep reading Casino Watch Focus to follow this new casino’s development and learn how you can take action.

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

A brief look at crime 9/14 -9/20

Man Nabbed for Burying Gambling Partner Alive

A man in his 30s was apprehended Monday for allegedly kidnapping his friend, who had lured him into gambling, and burying him in a grave for hours.  Yu lost about 40 million won at an illegal gambling parlor to which he had been taken by his colleague. Yu buried his colleague in a 1.5-meter-deep makeshift grave with his head above the ground, interrogating him over whether he was part of a gambling fraud.  Yu was also suspected of stabbing a creditor identified as a 48-year-old Kim, who loaned him the 40 million won he lost.  Yu, a compulsive gambler, [lost] 50 million won he had inherited from his parents

Man gets 55 years in fatal 2008 robbery attempt

A 26-year-old man faces 55 years in prison for his role in the fatal shooting of a club owner.  A jury convicted Whitmore and 22-year-old Shannon Dockery in July. Authorities described them as the ringleaders in a plot to rob 43-year-old Johnny Duke at his South Bend gambling hall in July 2008. Duke was shot during the botched robbery

Man commits suicide off Greektown garage

A 28-year-old West Bloomfield man committed suicide by jumping from the parking garage of the Greektown Casino garage this morning

Sarasota man charged in $36.5 million Ponzi scheme

He gave them incentives to invest more and paid bonuses to those who brought him new investors. At the end of 2½ years, when everything came apart, Diamond had taken more than $36.5 million from 200 investors, according to a criminal complaint. He also lost hundreds of thousands of dollars gambling in Las Vegas.  Now Diamond, 31, faces charges of fraud and money laundering.

Woman accused of stealing $45,000

A 45-year-old Nekoosa woman officials say stole more than $45,000 from her sister’s business is facing a felony charge… While going through bank records, Miller noticed numerous transactions at the Rainbow Casino in Nekoosa, including $34,303.47 in debit card transactions, $8,961.81 in credit card transactions, $4,923.45 in unauthorized online account transactions and $2,564.11 in unauthorized checks

Killed over a gambling affair

TWO men had been friends for many years. But an argument over a gambling session ended in tragedy when one was killed in a tyre shop in Tanjung Karang, Selangor, on Tuesday.  The enraged suspect stabbed the victim four times on the chest before running away.

Israeli Police Arrest Suspects for Operating Online Casinos

Israeli operators of online casinos were arrested and charged with money laundering, among other offenses, even though Israel permits ownership of online gambling sites as long as Israelis are barred from participating. The judge noted that many Israelis own gaming operations, some listed on the London Stock Exchange, and asked why this case would require arrests and prosecution.

Cape clients betrayed by crooked attorneys

Nancy Allen lost part of her inheritance when attorney John Roberts stole more than $100,000 from her mother. She says she felt “physically assaulted” when she learned Roberts used the money to finance a gambling habit. Roberts, now disbarred, pleaded guilty to stealing $137,000 from the estate of Alice May of Sandwich and was sentenced to house arrest. On Friday, he was arraigned on a charge of larceny by a single scheme in the theft of $650,000.  Allen, whose inheritance was partially stolen by Roberts, expressed similar feelings. Her mother, Alice May, had considered Roberts a friend. She said it felt like she had been “physically assaulted” when she figured out Roberts had grabbed the money to feed his gambling habit.

OSSAA ex-official Danny Rennels charged in $457.5K theft

A former official was accused Monday of embezzling $457,500 from the private association that regulates high school sports in Oklahoma.
[H]e had embezzled the money and spent it on Internet gambling,” a district attorney’s investigator reported. The prosecutor said the Internet gambling involved at least poker.  The charge is the latest in a string of embezzlement cases this year that have hurt state agencies and other private associations. Some of the other cases also have involved allegations funds were gambled away.

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

US Appeals court says no to Internet gambling

It has been long reported by Casino Watch Focus that Internet gambling was made illegal by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and that countless groups have tried and failed to overturn its ban.  The Kansas City Star has outlined the details of the latest attempt to overturn the ban on Internet gambling:

A U.S. appeals court upheld an Internet gambling ban Tuesday, rejecting a challenge from an association of off-shore bookies that the federal prohibition was too vague and violated privacy rights.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected arguments from Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association in New Jersey, which had filed the lawsuit hoping to legalize online betting in that state.

Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 to ban online gambling that would be illegal in the state where the individual or gambling business conducts the transaction.

An appeal is still possible, but this is just one more clear victory on the side of keeping gambling on the internet illegal and keeping children and families safe from online predators a priority.

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

A brief look at crime 9/7 – 9/13

Man who killed doctor wife jailed for life

A man who murdered his doctor wife in an unprovoked attack at their home was jailed for life today. She was a very gentle person and the irony is that her end should be so violent and so gruesome.  The court heard that two children were in the house at the time of the attack.  Lord Hardie said today that it was “impossible” to know what psychological harm had been caused to the youngsters.  The court heard that Khan had a gambling habit and that he had lost £17,000 in spread betting.

AG: $36K Insurance Scheme Intended To Cover Gambling Debt
Insurance Payout Used To Cover Losses From Video Poker Machines, AG Says

A former nurse submitted false insurance claims indicating she and her husband had cancer, and used the money to cover a gambling debt, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.  According to the criminal complaint, Stanesic used her background in nursing to submit 29 false medical insurance claims worth $36,000.

Police Break Up Russell Co. Gambling Ring

llegal video gambling machines, as well as evidence of illegal poker games were seized. Officers also seized over $7,000 of suspected gambling proceeds.

Former Fort Worth police officer who was indicted turns himself in

A former Fort Worth police officer who was indicted Friday on a bribery charge turned himself in to authorities Monday morning. He is accused of scheming with representatives of Aces Wired, a Dallas-based multimillion-dollar corporation that ran eight-liner game rooms statewide, including four in Tarrant County. Last week, four executives of Aces Wired struck a sweeping plea deal with numerous law enforcement agencies and pleaded guilty in a Tarrant County courtroom to charges stemming from running an illegal gambling operation.

Father is charged with endangering child at casino

Evan H. Wormley, 21, of the 4500 block of Evans Avenue in St. Louis, was charged Tuesday with endangering the welfare of a child. [he] attacked a man and woman after they refused his request for money and dropped the boy wearing only a dirty diaper onto a commercial floor sweeper before fleeing the casino without his son.

Largo police seek public’s help after robbery of casino patron at his home

Police are searching for someone who they say shot and robbed a man who was followed home from the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa.  On Feb. 24, the victim left the casino and headed back to his Largo home. When he arrived and got out of his car, a man approached him and robbed him at gunpoint.

WM woman charged with insurance fraud

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has filed criminal charges against a West Mifflin woman who is accused of submitting nearly $36,000 in fictitious cancer treatment claims to her insurance company. Stanesic allegedly contacted insurance company Aflac by e-mail on May 8, 2008, and “revealed herself as a compulsive gambler with financial problems and admitted submitting fraudulent claims.”

Bellagio: Indicted billionaire owes $258,480 gambling debt

Billionaire R. Allen Stanford is escorted into a federal courthouse Monday, June 29, 2009, in Houston. Stanford was indicted on charges alleging he swindled investors out of $7 billion. One month before his financial empire was shut down by regulators, Texas billionaire Robert Allen Stanford was running up a quarter-million-dollar gambling debt in Las Vegas, a lawsuit filed by a casino shows.  Stanford was indicted in June in what the U.S. Justice Department called a $7 billion global investment scheme to defraud investors.

Texas woman accused of embezzling millions

A Sugar Land woman accused of embezzling more than $3.6 million from her former employer has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud.  Federal prosecutors in Houston say the 49-year-old used the money to buy a luxury home and vehicles and for gambling trips to Louisiana and Las Vegas.

Travel agent’s dishonesty brings jail term

Travel agent Dennis Alan Price faces six months in prison and a big reparation bill for using clients’ money to pay for his gambling.  He has paid nearly all the money back but Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish today ruled that $7492 was outstanding, and he must also pay his former employer for “consequential losses” she assessed at $32,547.  A total of about $80,000 was diverted by Price into the Visa accounts of himself and his partner.

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

Update: Delaware gambling law to allow NFL single game betting is overturned

Casino Watch Focus has reported that Delaware passed a law that will allow single-event betting on NFL games.  The league expressed concern for the new law and they filed an injuction against the new law.  The NFL was joined in their suit by the other major sports leagues and the NCAA.  The Jacksonville Observer reported the results:

Delaware’s bid to offer unlimited sports betting was thwarted by a federal appeals court Monday, a ruling that severely curtails what the state’s three casinos can offer.  In a decision by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Theodore McKee said single-game betting – the main draw of the state’s sports gambling efforts slated to launch next week – violated the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said he was disappointed with the court’s rulling and would look into the states legal options.  The Jacksonville Observer continues:

Delaware, which has spent tens of thousands of dollars on outside lawyers, could ask the entire 3rd Circuit to review the case.  The state’s casinos have spent about $12 million prepping for the start of sports betting, which was supposed to begin with the first weekend of college football. “I don’t think we have any other choice given the investment we’ve made,” Key said.

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

A brief look at crime 8/31-9/6

Accused threatened to murder estranged wife

The man who stands accused of murdering his estranged wife in Tarxien on July 13 had previously threatened to kill her if he did not get half of everything during separation procedures, the victim’s sister testified on Tuesday. Ms Milenkovic said that her sister sought separation because of her husband’s drinking and gamblingproblems.  The money was soon gone, being squandered on alcohol and gambling by her husband. Ms Milenkovic said that she advised her sister to settle some gambling debts at the time.

2 immigrants guilty in fatal Vegas Strip bombing

A Nevada jury found two illegal immigrants guilty Friday of capital murder and explosives charges in a bombing in a Las Vegas casino parking lot that killed a hot dog stand vendor in 2007.  Prosecutors said Duarte-Herrera provided the bombmaking expertise and Rueda-Denvers supplied a motive – jealousy and revenge against Dorantes Antonio, who was dating Rueda-Denvers’ ex-girlfriend, Caren Chali.  Chali now 30, the mother of Rueda-Denvers’ child, worked with Dorantes Antonio at a hot dog stand at the Luxor and was with him when the bomb exploded. She was not injured.

Joplin resident ordered to serve prison sentence

The U.S. attorney’s office said Seward watched the woman gambling inside the casino and then followed her to her car in the parking lot, where he snatched her purse and tried to flee. When the woman fought back, he punched her in the face, knocking her out momentarily.

Gambling Raids Pile Up Across The US, The Latest In Georgia

Anyone who is looking into running an illegal gambling operation in the US needs to be aware of one thing. Authorities are actively cracking down on the se operations, and they are arresting people in the process. Across the US, there has been an effort made to ensure that video gambling does not become an acceptable practice.

Chips were down so dealer stole

A GOLD Coast croupier stole $5700 of casino chips because she needed the money, a court has been told.  Wai Ying Ayumi Ho, 24, pleaded guilty to stealing chips from Jupiters Casino while working on the baccarat table in June this year.

MGM Mirage and Chinese Organized Crime

The Daily News has reported that one of six bidders to run a Las Vegas-style video slots emporium in Queens has ties to Chinese organized crime. MGM is in a partnership agreement in Macau with Patsy Ho, daughter of that Chinese casino resort’s gambling magnate Stanley Ho.  MGM’s partnership with Pansy Ho be found “unsuitable,” [AG Division]

Five years for Andres Wines thief: Woman stole more than $7m to feed gambling habit

A Dundas woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $7.4 million from her job at a Grimsby-based winery.  Christine Papakyriakou had pleaded guilty in April to using her position as an accountant with Andres Wines, now Andrew Peller Ltd., to siphon off the money over an 11-year period to feed a gambling addiction. Her gambling debts were reportedly between $5 million and $10 million.

She stole and gambled $350,000

Riley, 55, had her nose stuck in her Patricia Cornwall novel for several hours at Bowen District Court yesterday where she was waiting to be sentenced for gambling away $354,724.83 belonging to Tourism Whitsundays. Riley gambled away 23 per cent of Tourism Whitsundays’ annual income Riley, who has a 10-year-old child, pleaded guilty to fraud.  Prosecutor Scott Thackeray said Riley used Tourism Whitsundays’ finances for internet betting.

Charity fraudster appears in court

A fraudster organised charity race nights in north Norfolk to help terminally ill children and then kept more than £8,000 of the proceeds for himself.  Ferris was arrested on August 7, 2008 and admitted during interviews to an online gambling addiction that amounted to tens of thousands of pounds and had resulted in him losing his house and car.

Ex-AmeriCorps director gets 6 months in prison for $150K embezzlement

A former AmeriCorps director now living in Hopkinton was sentenced yesterday to six months in prison for embezzling more than $150,000 while on the job to feed his addiction to betting on horse races.  In a presentencing memo, prosecutors wrote that Holden had a clean record before the embezzlement and tax-evasion charges and turned to crime because of his gambling problem.

Former caretaker sentenced for thefts

A Grand Rapids woman [70] authorities say stole thousands of dollars from at-risk adults and used it to gamble will spend a year in jail [She was] ordered to pay $47,741.36 in restitution plus other costs and supervision fees for three counts of felony theft.  Trickey, who operated a business called Protective Care in Grand Rapids, was the court-appointed guardian for adults described as at-risk — defined by state law as having a condition that substantially impairs them. Her responsibilities included managing their money and handling their financial affairs.  “She stole money from some of our community’s most vulnerable people,” Lambert said.

Pocono Downs Casino Fined For Underage Gambling

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board levied a $97,500 fine against the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs for having failed to prevent minors from gambling. The fine was placed against the casino for fifteen separate incidents involving minors either gambling or being in the restricted area of the gaming floor.

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

Missouri Gaming Commission rules 13th state casino license will be open to competition: The President Casino calls foul

Casino Watch Focus has been providing updates to a situation that might allow for a new casino in the north St Louis area.  It has been long reported that the President Casino’s boat is in poor condition and will need to be either repaired or replaced by a new boat altogether.  Pinnacle, the parent company of the President Casino, believed moving the boat to a new location would be a simple process.  Planning meetings were held to investigate the possibility of a new casino in the north St Louis area and recently, the Missouri Gaming Commission meet and ruled on the on the issue.  The St Louis Post Dispatch reports:

In a unanimous vote, the Missouri Gaming Commission ruled that any plan to move the money-losing President or replace the century-old Admiral riverboat on which it sits would require operator Pinnacle Entertainment to reapply for its license with the state.  In July, Koster’s [AG] office said a casino’s license is tied to “both a specific vessel and a specific location,” and thus it can’t be moved or put on a new boat. With the clock ticking toward that Coast Guard inspection, state officials thought it best to press the issue, McNary said.

The ruling means that the license currently held by Pinnacle will be up for competition once the boat has to be replaced or Pinnacle tries to move the boat’s location.  Competition seems inevitable as there were several groups attempting to obtain a casino license before Proposition A capped the total number at 13.  The Post Dispatch is also reporting on possible new competition:

There are also, McNary said, at least four groups that have expressed interest in building a casino near the Chain of Rocks bridge, including Pinnacle and North County Development LLC, which is now seeking approval from the St. Louis County Planning Commission for a 377-acre site along Columbia Bottom Road.

Pinnacle’s lawyers expressed serious concern at the Gaming Commission meeting calling the Commission’s action a revocation of their license:

“If what you are saying is that there has to be a new license application with an RFP to all others who are interested in getting a license and there would be competition for a new license, I think you are back-dooring revocation in violation of due process and violation of the law.  There are no grounds or public interest issues to revoke this license.  It is a gross mistake and a violation of law.  We had no notice of revocation from the Commission.”

It seems pretty clear that Pinnacle will seek legal action against the Commission.  Pinnacle’s lawyers seemed to be blind-sided by the ruling, indicating they felt mislead by the procedures leading up to the Commission’s ruling.

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