Monthly Archives: October 2009

A brief look at crime 10/19/09 – 10/25/09

Woman Shot at Legal Gambling Café

A woman died after a gun accidentally discharged at a legal computer gambling cafe on Normandy Boulevard.  Police say the woman was on a computer gambling when a man walked into the Allied Veterans of the World Inc. Police say he had a gun that he mishandled and it went off, hitting the woman in the back.  Neither the man nor the victim have been identified. Police are investigating and have not said if the man will face charges.

Man gets 26 to 90 years in Vegas casino shooting

A 53-year-old unemployed house painter apologized to his victims before he was sentenced Monday to 26 to 90 years in prison for opening fire with a handgun and wounding four people in a Las Vegas Strip casino more than two years ago. A jury found him guilty last July of 51 of 52 felony charges – including a charge of attempted murder with a deadly weapon for each of the 16 shots he fired.

Smuggled gun used in double-homicide

The Crown alleges that on June 21, 2007, Frimpong and his accomplice, Phillip Salmon, burst into the motel room where Ahmad and another man were smoking crack. Frimpong and Salmon’s intent, according to the Crown, was to rob the men. The Crown alleges that Frimpong fired a shot, and the single bullet killed both Ahmad — who was hit in the head — and Salmon, who was hit in the chest. Sears was what police call a “straw purchaser” — a front man who buys guns for a smuggler. The smuggler then took the weapons across the U.S. border.  “I thought I’d get lots of money,” Sears said. “I ended up getting screwed. But I had a gambling habit at the time and that’s how I spent the money. I spent it all gambling.”

Youth hangs himself after losing gambling match

An youth allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself to death after losing a gambling match on the occasion of Diwali.  According to the locals, Amit on Friday late evening had gone to Faizabad city for gambling, but he lost money, which he took himself from his house.

Colo. casinos collect $600,000 in child-support

More than $600,000 has been garnished from winnings of deadbeat parents who gamble in Colorado during the first year of a controversial law that requires casinos to check whether big winners owe child support. Anyone who wins more than $1,200 at a machine or a table in the Colorado gaming towns of Black Hawk, Cripple Creek or Central City is run through a computer database to see if they owe any child support payments. Advocates praise the law as a good way to get money from deadbeat parents.

Gambler jailed over $16 million investment scam

A “compulsive” gambler whose high-risk, unregistered investment scheme left mum and dad investors $16 million out of pocket has been jailed for 13 years.  The Brisbane District Court yesterday heard the promoter of the money-losing scheme, Brett Tony Best of Middle Park, had also faked loan applications to borrow $4.3 million as he fed his gambling addiction.  Westpac, National Australia Bank and Bank West were among the eight lenders defrauded when the trucking industry enthusiast sought finance to buy 45 non-existent prime movers and semi-trailers, the court was told.

Store boss stole to feed gambling habit

THE FORMER manager of a Plymouth surfwear shop stole more than £10,000 in cash from his employers to feed a gambling addiction, a court heard.  Nick Hawke, aged 25, admitted three counts of theft from the Freespirit surf shop in New George Street between January and March this year, and asked for five similar offences to be taken into consideration by the judge.  Hawke was ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs and compensation.

Accountant admits embezzling $3.6 million from Pasadena firm

A former accounting supervisor for Kaneka Texas chemicals company pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $3.6 million.  Diana Simon, 49, of Sugar Land, pleaded guilty to wire fraud for systematically stealing from the Pasadena-based wholly-owned subsidiary of Kaneka Japan. She used the stolen funds to live well — buying a luxury home, expensive vehicles and jewelry and taking many gambling trips Las Vegas, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson’s office.

Ottawa County woman accused of embezzling from parents

Authorities have charged an Ottawa County woman with embezzling at least $100,000 from her parents’ life savings of $275,000. Eloise Russo is accused of taking the money to pay for gambling losses, a $10,000 gift and a $16,000 new car for her sister. The 53-year-old woman is free on bond following her arraignment Wednesday — two days after her father, Thomas Sherwin of Hudsonville, died at age 90. Russo was appointed guardian to her father and her 83-year-old mother, Ada, in April 2007. Ottawa County Probate Judge Mark Feyen removed her from the post in July 2008 after allegations of fraud emerged.

Charges: Knights Of Columbus Worker Embezzled $60K

An employee for the Knights of Columbus has been charged with embezzling $64,000 from her employer over the course of a year and a half. The following day, she admitted to Bloomington Police that she had forged checks to make house payments and to support her gambling addiction.

Ex-lawyer gets 4 years in prison for stealing from clients

Disbarred Halifax lawyer Srinivasen Pillay was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for stealing more than $1.3 million from clients’ trust funds.  Mr. Pillay used much of the money to feed a gambling problem, Halifax provincial court was told.  It’s the largest legal embezzlement ever in Nova Scotia and rivals the worst cases in the country, Crown attorney Richard Hartlen said.

Trusted bookkeeper stole more than $700,000, sentenced to prison

Anthony took more than $700,000, according to Joe Vance, assistant Stark County prosecutor.  “She had a gambling problem. She was taking the company money and applying it to different places,” he said.  If she won, she would return some of the money, Vance said. But she wound up losing more.

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

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Florida House Speaker asks federal commission to stop Seminoles’ illegal games

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga between the Florida legislature and the Seminole Tribe regarding an acceptable gambling compact.  The back and forth resulted in a deal to move forward with a compact that was to result in millions for the Florida government in exchange for new table games allowed at the tribal casinos.  Now, after months of failed agreements, the Florida Speaker of the House, Larry Cretul, has asked the federal government to intervene.  On online Florida source explains:

In an Oct. 21 letter to Chairman George Skibine, Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, said in spite of “good faith” negotiations by the State of Florida with the Seminoles, “It is my opinion we have reached an impasse that can only be remedied by your intervention.”

Citing provisions of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which empowers the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to fine operators and temporarily close gambling activities in violation of IGRA, Cretul told Skibine, “It is our hope that the NIGC exercises this authority to bring the Tribe into compliance with federal law.”

House Speaker Cretul outlined in his letter that the Seminole tribe can’t be allowed to violate the law and disadvantage the people of Florida.  The online article continues:

Cretul said the Seminoles’ continuing operation of illegal games at its casinos “disadvantages” the state in its negotiations with the tribe.

“Until the banked card games (and slot machines) are shut down and the Tribe gives some indication that it is willing to abide by the law, and ultimately its agreements, it would appear that the State would be ill-advised to enter into any compact with the Tribe,” wrote Cretul.

While “we are willing to negotiate in good faith,” Cretul concluded, “We will not be forced into accepting a compact that grants the Tribe more games than they may rightfully demand under IGRA.”

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


A brief look at crime 10/12/09 – 10/18/09

Trio of Murder Indictments in Tallahassee

Leon County grand jury issues three murder indictments in a swift morning session.  Terrell Robinson was indicted for first degree murder in the strangulation of his girlfriend, FSU art student Elisabeth Killam. Killam was killed in her Chartre Oaks apartment three weeks ago.  The grand jury also indicted Victor Hamilton on two counts of first degree murder. Hamilton is the accused triggerman in a double homicide at a Tennessee Street hotel last month.  Lemon Lane was also indicted for first degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Nathan back in August. Deputies say the shooting on Cathedral Drive was the result of a gambling dispute.

Insurance agent sentenced to 13 years in prison

A former Sacramento life insurance agent has been sentenced to 13 years in prison and ordered to pay $434,000 in restitution for stealing from her clients to fund her gambling habit. Between January 2005 and August 2007, Flora convinced at least a dozen retirees living in El Dorado, Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus and Butte counties to invest between $5,000 and $88,000 with her, a news release said. She sold annuities to retirees who sought financial security, but then also offered additional investment opportunities, promising annual returns ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent. She told them their funds would be used to make real estate loans to investors paying high interest rates. But she made only a few interest payments to investors. Instead, she used the money to play the slots almost daily at Thunder Valley Casino in Placer County.

Kids raiding houses to feed online habit

Young people are being driven to break into neighbours’ houses or stack up bills on their parents’ credit cards so they can gamble online, says the Problem Gambling Foundation. Research director Phil Townshend said a record number of people were seeking help from the foundation for online gambling addictions, and the problem was set to spread among young people.

Iowa man accused of trying to rob woman at casino

A 21-year-old southeast Iowa man is accused of breaking a 76-year-old woman’s arm as he tried to rob her at a casino.  Authorities say he tried to take the woman’s purse, and when she wouldn’t let go he knocked her to the ground.  She suffered a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs.

Ex-bookkeeper sentenced for fraud

A gambling addict was on Friday jailed for six years for stealing more than R2-million from two legal firms while in their employ as a bookkeeper. Chabillal said some of the money stolen from the second firm had  been used to repay the first.  She stole from her employers, taking money from their respective  trust accounts.  He said he also agreed with defence attorney Deon Louw that Cronje was a pathological gambler…She was sentenced on 153 counts of fraud, and one of money laundering, all taken as one.

Supermarket manager stole £112k in fortnight to fund roulette addiction

A SUPERMARKET boss who stole £112,000 from Lidl in a fortnight to fund her gambling addiction was jailed yesterday.  The 38-year-old manager took the cash from Lidl’s Langstracht store in Aberdeen over a two-week period in September last year. [She] would squander up to £4000 a night at the roulette wheels in the city’s casinos.  She took cash from her store to gamble – then stole even more in the hope of winning the cash back.

Homeowner association president sentenced for embezzling $87,000

The former president of the Gander Road Homeowner’s Association, who admitted to embezzling $87,000 from the group, was sentenced Friday, Oct. 9, to five years probation. Griffin pleaded guilty June 17 to one count of honest services mail fraud. Griffin must repay the restitution at the rate of $1,000 per month and receive counseling for gambling addiction. Rice also ordered that a lien be placed on Griffin’s home.

Woman loses $25,000 in jewelry at Joliet casino

An Oak Lawn woman lost $25,000 worth of jewelry in restroom Sunday at Empress Casino.  The woman told police she hung her purse on a door hook of a casino restroom stall about 4:30 p.m.  The woman turned away from her purse, police said, and when she turned back, the purse was outside the stall and open, and a jewelry case containing $25,000 worth of jewelry was missing.

Connecticut: Former Manchester Cop Accused Of Theft Accepted Into Program

A former police sergeant accused of stealing more then $19,000 from Police Explorer and child safety seat funds has been accepted into a special program in lieu of going to prison. Police said she stole the money  because she had more than $240,000 in gambling debts.

Employee Stole Soju Worth $260,000

Ulsan Nambu Police Station apprehended an employee of an alcoholic beverage company for stealing soju worth nearly 300 million won ($260,000) from his workplace.  Police said the man, named only as Kim, entered the warehouse of the liquor company he worked at from March to July about 50 times after his colleagues had left and hid some 11,000 boxes of soju with a market value of 290 million won.  Kim sold the liquor to clients for a cheap price and spent the money at casinos abroad.

Trial of 22 opens in SW China on organized crime, gambling charges

Twenty-two people went on trial Wednesday in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality on charges related to running an organized crime ring and illegal gambling dens. The alleged ringleader, Xie Caiping, was charged with organizing and leading an organized crime gang, running illegal gambling dens, and harboring people taking illegal narcotics, illegal imprisonment and giving bribes to officials.

The municipal authorities arrested more than 2,000 government officials, police officers and suspected gangsters in a crackdown on organized crime this summer. Among those arrested was Wen Qiang, director of the municipal judicial administrative bureau and former executive deputy director of the municipal public security bureau.

Woman accused of embezzling from elderly parents

Authorities have charged a west Michigan woman with embezzling at least $100,000 from her parents’ life savings of $275,000.  Eloise Russo is accused of taking the money to pay for gambling losses, a $10,000 gift and a $16,000 new car for her sister. The 53-year-old woman is free on bond following her arraignment Wednesday — two days after her father, Thomas Sherwin of Hudsonville, died at age 90.

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


Illinois looking to legalize online horse betting

Illinois is known for its diverse gambling venues. Everything from a state lottery to full casino gambling is legal in the state. Now, Illinois is looking to expand its horse betting business to the Internet.  An Illinois news source is reporting of the State’s latest attempt at solving budgetary problems with an expanded gambling plan:

Gambling on horse races on the Internet could become legal for Illinoisans as early as Wednesday.  The Illinois Racing Board is scheduled Tuesday to weigh giving three companies state licenses to handle online bets. If those companies are approved Tuesday, gamblers could use the approved Web sites to wager on horses from the comfort of their own homes as early as Wednesday.

Soon, the approved companies could start advertising, and Brubaker said he hopes the state will step up enforcement on non-licensed Web sites.

Estimates suggest the online betting could bring the state $1.5 million in additional revenue.  Opponents of online horse betting, though, argued letting people gamble online could lead to addiction and other problems.

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


A brief look at crime 10/5/09 to 10/11/09

Fraud case tied to escrow checks

Mark Brady seemed to have it all during the real estate boom — two title companies, BMWs, a Hummer, powerboats, a $2 million home on Merritt Island, an oceanside condominium in Cape Canaveral and three other riverfront properties.  Then, two days before Christmas, Brady was arrested — charged with illegally using $80,000 of his clients’ money from escrow accounts to pay off gambling debts in the Bahamas.

Feds: Biker gang plotted to kill, extort rivals

National Pagans Motorcycle Club leaders and more than 50 members and associates of the outlaw biker gang are accused of plotting to kill and extort rivals to consolidate the club’s power in the eastern U.S., according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.  Many of the charges detail violent efforts to intimidate and extort smaller biker gangs and clubs, and illegal gambling centered on raffles for nonexistent motorcycles. Other crimes listed in the 83-page document include drug dealing and weapons violations.

Gambling board sends gambling addict, fraudster for therapy

The Western Cape branch of the gambling board referred a gambling addict to a clinical psychologist for therapy after she started having suicidal thoughts, the Bellville specialised commercial crime court heard on Monday.

As bookkeeper, Cronje first stole from the Trust bank account of the Paarl attorneys firm, Van Wyk Fouche Inc, to support her gambling addiction.  Van Dyk said Cronje had started gambling “socially, and under control”, until the year 2001 when she had started gambling with amounts such as R2 000 in one night, which had escalated to R10 000 and then to R20 000 in one night.

He said she had initially gambled with her salary, but later started stealing from her employer. She had also gambled away money that she had won at the Grand West, but had always been careful to take home some of her winnings, to show her husband.

Dillon authorities arrest 9 in gambling operation investigation

Nine people were arrested Tuesday after Dillon authorities along with State Law Enforcement Division agents foiled a Dillon gambling operation that involved betting on professional sports.  Johnny Jennings is charged with operating a gambling house and simple possession of marijuana.  About $10,000 in cash was discovered during the raid along with moonshine, he said.

Bookkeeper admits massive theft from dentist

A Temecula bookkeeper accused of embezzling $1.6 million from the Oceanside dental office where she had worked pleaded guilty Monday to theft, a prosecutor said. Wafford’s attorney said prescription drug addiction was to blame for her actions; the victim, dentist James Hargas, said he believes the motivation was gambling at casinos.  Hargas said authorities told him the woman had gambled away much of the money at casinos.

Bond set for woman accused of stealing from sister’s business

A $5,000 signature bond was set Monday in Wood County Circuit Court for a 45-year-old former Nekoosa woman who officials say stole $45,000 from her sister’s business.  While going through bank records, Ebert’s sister 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 between Dec. 1, 2007, and June 15, 2009, according to the criminal complaint.

Seattle senior center director charged with embezzlement

Accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the non-profit he ran, the former director of a South Seattle senior center has been charged with felony theft.   In court filings, King County prosecutors accuse Carlton Mark Williams, former director of the Southeast Seattle Senior Services Center, of completing 54 suspicious transactions totaling about $84,400 in less than a year.

In court documents, Haverkate said Williams told his former colleagues he’d taken the money to support his gambling problem. Following the check’s delivery, Williams allegedly sent another note of apology to an executive there. Williams, the detective alleged, “again stated his remorse and shame, and advised her that he was seeking counseling for his problem.”

3 men charged in $420,000 theft from Pa. casino

A prosecutor says three men, including a former police officer, used a slot machine “glitch” at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino near Pittsburgh to get it to pay them $420,000. Washington County District Attorney Steven Toprani said Tuesday that the men exploited a glitch in the machine’s software to cause it to display a false jackpot 14 times this summer. He called it one of the biggest slot thefts in casino gaming.

Credit union robber gets 40-month term

A 25-year-old man has been ordered to serve 40 months in a federal prison after robbing a Fargo credit union at gunpoint last December.  Denver Lee Tergesen also must serve three years of supervised release after prison, participate in a mental health treatment program and undergo treatment for gambling addicts, a judge ruled Wednesday.

SKorean building firm hit by 162 million dollar theft

A former executive of a top South Korean construction firm has been arrested for allegedly embezzling a whopping 162 million dollars from his employers, police and the company said Thursday.  Park, who was in charge of company finances, allegedly began diverting company funds in 2004 after he suffered heavy losses in stock trading and on horse race bets.

Pennsylvania Gaming Board Fines Harrah’s Chester Casino $45K

The fine was handed out because the gaming board found that the casino did not properly handle the situation involving a disruptive patron last year. The state has never levied a fine that harsh for this type of regulations infraction, but clearly this was the delivery of a message.

“The state of Pennsylvania has been expanding their casino gambling options and the state needs the new casinos to understand that the regulations must be followed,” said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz, “By fining Harrah’s, the new casinos now understand that any violations will not be tolerated.”

Couple robbed after winning $10,000 at Broward casino

A Southwest Miami-Dade couple was robbed outside their home Wednesday night as they returned from a Broward County casino after winning $10,000, police said.  One of the robbers emptied Gaston Rodriguez’s pants pockets of $20,000 while the other robber attempted to steal Yolanda Rodriguez’s purse, according to Miami-Dade police.  The couple, in their mid-60s, received minor injuries. Paramedics treated them outside their home in the 2800 block of Southwest 128th Avenue.

Dad who left child outside casino gets house arrest

A Calgary father who left his toddler alone in a van outside a casino in March has been sentenced to house arrest.  The man, who can’t be named under Alberta law to protect the identity of his child, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to an offence under the province’s Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act.  “It is of great concern to the court and to the public when a child is left in such precarious circumstance,” said Dunnigan. “What you did that day was simply unacceptable and could have resulted in much, much more serious consequences for your child.”

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


Obama Administration looking to expand Tribal Gambling

Casino Watch Focus first reported that the Bureau  of Indian Affairs established limits to how far a tribal casino could be built off-reservation.  With some exceptions, the general rule is that the casinos must be within 25 miles of a reservation.  Now, an online gambling article is pointing to a possible shift from the Obama Administration that could greatly expand gambling in America:

Already in the US, there is a major casino boom taking place. Casinos are being built at a quicker rate than at any time in the nations history, and Obama and his administration may soon help that expansion grow even quicker.

The Bush Administration created a law that claims that Indian casinos can only be built if they are in commuting distance from a tribe’s reservation. The Interior Department, however, is considering overturning that directive.

Not everyone is excited about the prospects of changing the directive. Any change in the laws would ensure that more casinos would be built.

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


A brief look at crime 9/28/09 to 10/4/09

Prison Gambling Associated With Crime, Substance Abuse When Offenders Re-enter Community: Study

Parolees with a gambling habit may resort to criminal activities and substance abuse when they are released from prison if there are few community supports to help them re-integrate, a University of Alberta study has concluded.  Gambling is prevalent in prisons and the study found that even inmates not habituated to the pastime before incarceration can acquire a taste for it they’re unable to shake when released.

Pair Charged In $70,000 Casino Chip Thefts

Police say they were pulled over while driving a short distance from the casinos and had $66,000 in cash and several stun guns.  Authorities say the men stole chips from closed chip trays that were not being used at the time at the Showboat Casino Hotel, and Caesars Atlantic City.

‘Coward’ raider gets 10 years

A ROBBER who attacked two vulnerable women in their homes to feed his gambling habit has been jailed for 10 years for his “despicable” crimes.  He even tore a wedding ring from the finger of one of his victims, Sheffield Crown Court heard.  He duped the elderly widow with a fake ID card and once inside pulled out a kitchen knife, threatened to cut her throat and demanding money.  “He has developed a rather substantial gambling habit, that led to him getting into financial difficulties.

Arts group treasurer charged with $400,000 theft

The former volunteer treasurer of an arts group that stages one of Indianapolis’ best-known art fairs has been charged with embezzling about $400,000. His attorney says the 28-year-old Benker had a gambling problem and spent most of the money in Las Vegas.

Former stockbroker gets 21-month sentence

A judge sentenced a former stockbroker from Alton to 21 months in federal prison Friday after a prosecutor said the defendant continued to gamble, even after he was fired for stealing other people’s money to do so.  The government has evidence that Harrison continued to gamble at casinos in St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo., even after he was fired in 2008 by Stifel Nicolaus when they caught him taking clients’ money.

Brock, 67, had no other retirement fund than what he provided for himself by investing the money he earned. The man he trusted to give him investment advice, Harrison, took money that was not his and gambled it away, Brock said. Brock noted that while he was trying to salt away a little money for retirement, Harrison was leading the good life.  Harrison then racked up debts of $150,000 and stole more than $90,000, the prosecutor argued.

Dayton Police raid two convenience stores for promoting gambling – Three arrests

Dayton Police raided two convenience stores in Dayton. Coleman emphasized the importance of ridding the area of this type of activity because the promotion of illegal gambling attracts other, more serious types of crime.

Cockfighting ring, meth lab, weapons — oh, my!

An investigation into a cockfighting ring has unearthed a criminal enterprise in southeastern Pierce County, complete with cockfighting, illegal gambling, a marijuana grow operation and meth lab. Stolen cars and automatic weapons also were seized on the property.

Las Vegas clubs get slapped for bad behavior

Authorities crack down on ‘topless and lewd activity,’ excessive drunkenness, prostitution and drugs, holding nightclubs and casinos responsible. ‘We have rules,’ a Nevada gaming regulator says. In July, gaming regulators slapped the Planet Hollywood casino with a $500,000 fine for its Prive nightclub’s bad behavior, including “topless and lewd activity” and dumping club-goers in the casino “in various states of consciousness.”

The same month, the Rio closed its Sapphire topless pool, managed by a local gentleman’s club, after authorities arrested 10 people on suspicion of prostitution and drug crimes. Over Labor Day weekend, eight more arrests on similar charges were made at the Hard Rock Hotel’s pool club, Rehab.

Though the clubs are reliable moneymakers and publicity machines, some have vexed officials with their fraternity-style antics — including stripping contests, fistfights, and alleged drug use and sexual assaults.  Some clubs launched stripping contests; others tried to sneak around no-nudity ordinances by slathering women in body paint.  At Prive, patrons were involved in drugs and brawls, and minors were served alcohol.

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