A Brief Look at Crime 3/1 – 3/14

Debt-ridden gambler kills self, 11 others in suicide blast

A gambler unable to pay his debts set off a bomb in a minibus in a mountainous area of southwest China, killing himself and injuring 11 others, the Xinhua news agency said today. Bus bombs occur occasionally in China, where authorities fear unemployment, a widening income gap, or land and debt problems could lead to violence and instability. Yang Yongshou, 42, a former drug dealer and explosives expert, detonated the bomb under his seat on the mini-bus on Saturday in Luxi county, in Yunnan Province near the Vietnamese border, an area known for its steep rice terraces.

Morgans Hotel Executive Found Dead

Randy Kwasniewski, a hotel industry veteran and president of Morgans Hotel Group Las Vegas, was found dead at his home in Las Vegas on Tuesday morning, the company said. Las Vegas police said they responded to a call at his home around 10 a.m. and found an individual dead from a gunshot wound. A spokesman said the department was still investigating the circumstances of the death and could not provide details. Mr. Kwasniewski had overseen the stylish Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas since joining Morgans in 2006 after serving as an executive at Starwood Capital Group.

Victims paid restitution by former guardian

All restitution owed to court wards in a 2004 embezzlement case has been repaid, but the former guardian and conservator at the center of the case still owes more than $25,000 to the county.  Susan Marie Berg, 52, Sanford, was accused of feeding a gambling habit by taking $237,698 from wards of the court from April 2002 to March 2004. She ultimately pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult and was sentenced in the spring of 2005 to serve one year in jail followed by five years probation and to pay restitution in full. She paid $100,000 at the sentencing hearing.

Mikey Arroyo witness shot dead in ambush

Confessed illegal gambling operator Wilfredo Mayor was shot dead by four gunmen in a dawn ambush in Pasay City yesterday. Mayor, who had implicated presidential son Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo in jueteng operations, was declared dead on arrival at the San Juan De de Dios Medical Center. Senior Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Pasay police chief, said a brother-in-law, registered nurse Allan Benedict Castro, 39, sustained several bullet wounds. Nephew Rommel Mayor, 39, was unhurt.

“It was clear that Mayor was the target. His companions survived,” he said. Amid a hail of bullets from M-16 rifles and caliber .45 pistols, the Volvo, driven by Castro, went to a complete stop in front of Our Lady of Airways church at the corner of Chapel Road.  Petrasanta said the three reportedly came from a casino in Malate, Manila.

Haslingden gambler’s 40 burglaries to pay for addiction

A GAMBLER launched a one-man crime spree on schools, firms and community centres to find cash for his addiction.  Peter Everall, 36, carried on after being caught twice by police and in total carried out more than 40 raids.  He repeatedly struck at buildings across Rossendale and Burnley – including a special needs school – looking for electrical items and goods he could sell.

3-year term for Fresno school embezzlement

A former business manager who has admitted to stealing $422,000 from a tiny southwest Fresno school district was sentenced Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to three years in prison. Leonard Robinson, 52, wrote in a letter to Judge Jonathan Conklin that he was sorry for his actions. Attorney Glenn LoStracco, who represented Robinson, had sought probation, arguing that Robinson stole from Orange Center Elementary School District to feed a gambling habit, not to live a lavish lifestyle. But Conklin stuck to a three-year prison sentence that he had indicated in September when Robinson pleaded guilty to grand theft and second-degree burglary.

Robbers kill casino patron

A night out on the town turned into a nightmare for patrons of the Graceland Hotel Casino in Secunda, Mpumalanga on Wednesday night, when one person was killed and two police officers were wounded by a group of frustrated would-be robbers after their plan to rob the casino went awry. A witness told News24 he was standing at the casino’s bar when the group of men suddenly ran into the gambling area and screamed that everybody should lie down. “We all fell to the ground, we were terrified. I don’t know how many of them there were, but there was a lot,” Dirk Engelbrecht said, adding that the robbers had balaclavas on carried “pistols” and at least one “big gun.”

Md. Man Gets 25 Years in ’07 NJ Casino Bomb Threat

A Maryland man who hijacked a shuttle bus in 2007 and threatened to blow up a New Jersey casino unless he was paid $3 million has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. David B. Kilkeary of Crofton, Md., was sentenced Friday in federal court in Trenton. The 39-year-old Kilkeary pleaded guilty in August, admitting he caused an overnight standoff with police outside the Showboat Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City in November 2007.

Man convicted of murder over gambling loss

A former Santa Ana apartment manager was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday for shooting a man to death after he allegedly lost hundreds of dollars in a Cambodian dice game. Franco Edgar Neftali, 44, showed no reaction when his seven-woman, five-man jury also found that he used a gun to commit murder, a penalty enhancement that qualifies him for 50 years to life in prison at his sentencing on May 7 by Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly.

Ky. man, La. woman get prison for $13M theft

A Kentucky man and a Louisiana woman have been sentenced to prison terms for their roles in a scheme to embezzle nearly $13 million from a Gretna oil company. White worked for the company, which operated a dock fueling business in the Port of New Orleans. Barbier sentenced her to 40 months in prison. Kinney was her sister’s boyfriend. He was sentenced to 78 months in prison. Prosecutors said the stolen funds were used to pay personal expenses, gambling and to fund a racing company, Premier Motorsports, which Kinney run. Premier Motorsports owned race cars and competed in the NASCAR Busch Series.

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

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