A Brief Look at Crime 12/14 – 12/20

Gambling ringleader goes to prison

A man who claimed he was a member of the mafia and ran a large-scale illegal gambling and loan-sharking operation in Denver that contributed to two suicides was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison. The bald 49-year-old wore jet-black eye glasses, a yellow jail jumpsuit and had a small tattoo on his right forearm as he stood before Jefferson County District Judge Philip McNulty. Just minutes earlier, prosecutors had reminded the judge that Castardi had bragged that he’d been a bookie for the Gambino crime family on the East Coast for most of his adult life.

Woman must repay money stolen from firm

A pathological addiction to VLT gambling ate up all of the $112,146 Lillian Arlene Lockyer embezzled from her employer during the course of a year.  Lockyer, 50, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of fraud dating from May 2007 to May 2008. She was handed a conditional sentence of two years less one day to be served in the community. That will be followed by three years on probation.

Gambling addict’s violent robberies

A GAMBLING addict who carried out two terrifying robberies on a shop assistant and a taxi driver in Birmingham has been given an indeterminate prison sentence.  In passing a sentence of imprisonment for public protection on Zico Davis, Judge Robert Orme said he represented a “significant risk” to members of the public of serious harm.

Graham Henson, prosecuting, said his first victim, who was known to the defendant, worked in a family-run shop with her uncle. When the shop closed at 8pm she left by a rear door and got into her car. “She started the engine and the car door suddenly opened and she saw, as it turned out, this defendant holding an Army-style combat knife in one hand, which he pointed at her.”

Three weeks later Davis struck again after he and another man got into a taxi. After directing the driver to the Winson Green area one of the men then produced a revolver with a long barrel. Threats were made to shoot the driver, who handed over £100. He was then told to hand over more money and pistol-whipped with the butt of the gun.

Melson ordered to stand trial in School Land Office embezzlement case

Attorney General Drew Edmondson says Melson is accused of 174 counts of embezzlement for allegedly taking more than $1.16 million in royalty payments intended for the Land Office. He was indicted in June by the state multicounty grand jury. Prosecutors say he allegedly diverted the money to himself to feed a gambling habit. Melson faces between one and 20 years in prison on each count and possible fines and restitution if convicted.

Former NYC Law Department Attorney Admits Starting Mortgage Scam to Pay Gambling Debts

A former New York City Law Department attorney admitted Friday that he had defrauded two victims in a mortgage scam to pay off gambling debts.  Hugh A. Zuber, who worked in the Law Department’s special federal litigation division, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud before Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck. Zuber, who invented both a state court lawsuit and a federal bankruptcy proceeding in a desperate attempt to avoid detection, ripped off one victim for $198,820 and a second for $185,151. He will be ordered to pay those amounts in restitution, forfeit $301,250 and pay a fine of between $6,000 and $60,000 when he is sentenced by Judge Richard M. Berman.

High-Stakes Poker Club Owner Gets 16 Years In Prison

Jeffrey Castardi (48) has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, after been found guilty of violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, including running an illegal professional gambling and bookmaking business, loan-sharking, money laundering, tax evasion, theft and unlawful debt collection.

Castardi is believed to have Mafia connections and was often heard boasting that he had been a Gambino crime family bookie for most of his life. Together with his associates, Castardi operated a Denver based gambling club from July 2003 until April 2008, when it was shut down by the Denver Police Department. Millions of dollars was said to have passed through the club, with many gamblers falling into debt and forced to take out 40 percent interest loans from Castardi, leading to at least two suicides.

Man loses wife to fellow gambler in card game

A man in western Uttar Pradesh allegedly gave away his 32-year-old wife to a fellow gambler after he lost a card game, police said Wednesday. The incident came to light when the woman, a resident of Billauchpura village in Baghpat district, about 400 km from Lucknow, managed to escape from the house of the man to whom her husband lost the game, police added. “The woman, who approached us Tuesday, has alleged that her husband Raheesu had used her as a stake after he lost all his money in gambling,” a police official told reporters in Baghpat.

Joplin man pleads guilty to stealing from casino by counterfeiting chips

Southwest Missouri man has pleaded guilty in Oklahoma federal court to using counterfeit poker chips to steal thousands of dollars from an Indian casino in Northeast Oklahoma. “I had previously obtained legitimate 25-cent poker chips and used a special process to create counterfeit chips,” William Reece Lancaster, 49, of Joplin, admitted to authorities in his plea agreement. According to Woodward, Lancaster admitted stealing at least $27,236 from the casino.  Sentencing is set for March 9, after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. Lancaster faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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

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