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

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