A Brief Look at Crime 4/26-5/2

Former food bank director allegedly embezzles $23,000 from needy

Susan Gravier, 54, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling an estimated $23,000 from the Willits Community Services and Food Bank while she was its executive director. The Willits Community Services Board of Directors became suspicious about some transactions in April 2009 and contacted Willits police. The board then appointed Jim Marrill to the executive director post, replacing Gravier. The WPD investigation took some time to fully verify and confirm the thefts, which occurred between November 2008 and early 2009. The thefts involved a number of cash transactions through Automatic Teller Machines and internet stores. The California Department of Gaming became involved as a number of the transactions occurred in casinos. Police theorize that Gravier had a gambling problem.

Postal clerk gambles away customers’ €700,000

An Upper Austrian post office clerk accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of Euros of customers’ savings has been put in custody. Andreas Pachler, a spokesman for the Austrian Post AG, said yesterday (Thurs) the accused frittered away at least 700,000 Euros in different casinos. “He apparently acted in a very clever way. None of his colleagues noticed any malpractices for 15 years,” Pachler said, adding that none of the Mauthausen post office staff knew of the suspect’s gambling addiction. The scam was discovered during an audit. Investigators found the man had returned the cash he took from the tills after winning in the casino, but started to take money from customers’ accounts when he got into the red.

‘Master agent’ pleads guilty to running illegal sports book

A Kansas City man admitted in federal court Wednesday that he organized and operated a multimillion-dollar online sports bookmaking business. Gerlarmo Cammisano, who federal prosecutors described as “master agent” of the enterprise, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to one count of conducting an illegal gambling business. As part of Wednesday’s plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit more than $200,000 and two laptop computers seized during the investigation, which included wiretaps and searches of several private homes, including Cammisano’s residence. Cammisano, 56, is the son of the late Kansas City organized crime figure William “Willie the Rat” Cammisano. Many of the other defendants charged in the case also came from families with past organized crime ties.

Sheriff’s chief of staff gets 25 months in prison

Former Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris’ chief of staff and alleged mistress has been sentenced to 25 months in prison.  Sabra Thornton was also ordered Wednesday to pay $67,912 in restitution to the sheriff’s office and about $4,000 in other fees. A circuit judge told Thornton that should could post a $5,000 appeal bond that would allow her to remain free until her appeal is finished.  Thornton’s attorney says that could take more than a year. Prosecutors say Thornton collected $80,000 for a job she didn’t do while employed by the sheriff’s office. Her attorney says she did her job. Morris has been convicted of federal and state charges for using Homeland Security money to fund lavish Las Vegas gambling trips.

Sheriff’s deputy killed outside casino

A Nevada deputy sheriff was killed by a man wielding an automatic rifle outside a casino in Pahrump, officials said.  The deputy, 27, whom police declined to identify, died after emergency surgery Monday night, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The incident occurred after an apparent domestic dispute, during which a woman called 911. The suspect allegedly fired a shot at her and she fled to the casino, where police tried to protect her, the newspaper reported. The suspect allegedly shot at two deputies as their car pulled up to the casino.

Post officer manager stole to fund gambling addiction

A post office manager stole €22,000 from his employer in order to fund his gambling addiction, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard. Ken Dalton (aged 36) initially started gambling with the post office’s money in order to win enough money to hide a mistake he made which had left a €450 discrepancy in the accounts. The gambling quickly got out of control and he was soon stealing up to €1400 a week in order to win enough to hide the mounting thefts.

Ex-policeman in court over Annabella Symington murder

A former police inspector accused of murdering a wealthy widow in 1989 was a gambling addict who went to her home to ask for cash, a court has heard. Prosecutors allege Kenneth McConnell killed Annabella Symington, 80, by forcing a cardigan sleeve into her mouth to stop her screaming. Mr McConnell, 58, was said to have discovered the south Belfast pensioner had money after befriending her niece. Mrs Symington’s body was discovered by a neighbour at her Willesden Park home in the Stranmillis area of the city on 31 October 1989. She had died due to mechanical asphyxiation. A prosecution barrister told the High Court bail hearing the victim was a wealthy lady whose late husband had been a successful businessman.

Ex-treasurer of Indianapolis arts group sentenced to prison for $380,000 embezzlement

The former treasurer of an arts organization that stages one of Indianapolis’ best-known art fairs is going to prison for stealing more than $380,000 from the group. A Marion County judge on Tuesday sentenced 28-year-old Brandon Benker to three years in prison and two years on work release or home detention. Benker pleaded guilty to felony theft charges.  The theft from the Penrod Society occurred over nine months in 2008. Prosecutors said Benker used some of the money for a Las Vegas gambling spree. Defense attorney James Voyles says Benker has spent time in treatment for a gambling addiction.

Woman steals $4.6 million from her family’s business

A BOOKKEEPER stole $4.6 million from two Geelong companies partly owned by her family to fund her gambling habit and lifestyle. Rhonda Margaret De Sieno, 50, of Saltbush St, Sanctuary Lakes, yesterday pleaded guilty to stealing from her employer, Local Mix Concrete and Local Mix Quarries at Moolap. Geelong County Court heard that between September 2000 and October 2006, De Sieno transferred $3.7 million belonging to Local Mix Concrete and Local Mix Quarries into her personal savings, home loan and personal trust accounts. She also paid money into Descar Transport Pty Ltd, a company owned by her husband, Robert De Sieno, and also into a bank account she shared with him.

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

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