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

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