Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Brief Look at Crime 6/21-6/27

Man With Stab Wounds Found Dead In Room

A 33-year-old man was  found dead, with five stab wounds in the chest, on a bed in a room at a shophouse in Taman Segar, Cheras, here Wednesday, police said. Cheras Police deputy chief Supt Abdul Rahim Hamzah Othman said Liew Siew Meng was believed to have died three days ago and it could not be ruled out that he had committed suicide. He said a 10-inch knife was found beside the body and an A4-size paper with the words “saya tidak mahu berjudi lagi” (I do not want to gamble anymore) was found pasted on a wall in the room.

Woman pleads guilty to embezzling over $500,000 from employer

A office manager for a New Orleans dermatologist pleaded guilty to embezzling over $550,000 from her employer, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. “The records would demonstrate that the defendant routinely and consistently made electronic withdrawals from the dermatologist’s Chase practice account in order to make payments on her own personal credit card accounts. The credit card records would also indicate habitual visits to gambling establishments throughout the time period of the withdrawals.

Thieving employee almost cripples company

A senior employee stole $2.7 million from her company employer over six years to spend as a VIP high-roller at Auckland’s SkyCity Casino. Herminia Lanuza pleaded guilty in Auckland District Court this to fraud and theft and her accountant partner Divinia Granados admitted laundering stolen money through bank accounts, The Weekend Herald reported. The couple will be sentenced in August. Lanuza worked as a senior financial controller for an Auckland company, whose name is suppressed, from 2002 to 2008 systematically stealing cash to feed her gambling addiction nearly leaving the firm insolvent. The missing millions were uncovered only after an unpaid tax bill was discovered in March 2008.

Problem gambler gets 7 years after second theft

A WOMAN who stole almost $250,000 from a community organisation has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Rosanne Rita Payne, 26, worked for Desart at Alice Springs and had been released from jail on a suspended sentence for stealing $350,000 from the NT Government when she stole from Desart. Payne pleaded guilty to 26 fraud-related charges in the NT Supreme Court at Alice Springs, and Justice Stephen Southwood sentenced her last week. The problem gambler managed accounts at the small business, and entered two of her account numbers in a computer system under the names of businesses that Desart used occasionally.

SkyCity continues to profit from crime

The Problem Gambling Foundation questions why SkyCity Casino continues to profit from the millions of dollars that finds its way into their coffers from criminal activity. Hot on the heels of the multi-million dollar drug ring that used SkyCity Casino’s VIP lounge as an office to plan P deals, the casino profits again from the $2.7 million stolen from an Auckland business that ended up in their VIP high roller room. Graeme Ramsey, Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, says SkyCity should not be able to retain the profit derived from criminal activity. “Here are two cases of fraudulent activity where millions of dollars have ended up in SkyCity’s coffers,” he says. “Why should SkyCity be able to profit from crime? An innocent Auckland business has just lost $2.7 million and they deserve to be recompensed in the same manner as the ASB Bank reached a successful agreement with Peter Versalko’s service provider.”

Republic man indicted on federal charges for running gambling business

A Republic man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for running an illegal gambling business from August 2008 to August 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City announced. According to the indictment, Donald E. Bishop, 34, was part of a conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business and exchanged poker chips for cash with a confidential informant and undercover law enforcement officer on at least 14 occasions. The news release said Bishop also employed a dealer who allegedly traded poker chips for cash with a confidential informant at least twice. The news release, distributed after normal business hours Tuesday, contained no other details of the gambling business and did not say where it was located. Officers with the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Missouri Highway Patrol and Republic Police Department were involved in the investigation.

Bookies flee Malaysia after cops close in on World Cup betting rings

MORE than seven big-time Malaysian bookies who are believed to be running illegal football betting rings have fled to neighbouring countries following a nationwide police crackdown since the start of the World Cup. Police are now hot on their heels and working with Interpol to nab them. The individuals, some of them believed to be businessmen, have resorted to carrying out their operations in those countries. Police also identified three local bookie syndicates operating overseas and receiving bets in US dollars. The first 10 days of the World Cup have seen illegal bookies raking in a whopping 300.7 million ringgit (S$129.7 million) in bets placed by Malaysians hoping to strike it big. Intelligence chief Bakri Zinin said they were working round the clock and have raided 156 places throughout the country and arrested 120 people, including a 15-year-old student and 20 women.

Mother left boy in car while gambling

A District Court judge has heard a mother left her son, 7, in an unlocked car for almost 30 minutes while she played poker machines in a Gold Coast hotel. The Southport District Court heard the 38-year-old woman left the boy in a car parked outside the Ferry Road Tavern at Southport in June last year. She spent 26 minutes inside the hotel buying cigarettes and gambling before returning to the car and driving home. Today she pleaded guilty to one charge of “leaving a child under 12 unattended”.

Gambling addict steals $750k from betting agency

A young Victorian gambling addict has admitted to stealing $756,000 from Tasmania’s state-owned betting agency. Dylan Johnstone of Warrnambool pleaded guilty in the Hobart Supreme Court to committing 362 counts of computer fraud in November 2009. The 23-year-old discovered a flaw in an online bill paying service called PoLi. Similar to PayPal, he used the service to credit the money into his Tote online gambling account. Johnstone’s lawyer said her client had lost his job and was about $40,000 debt when he committed the crimes. She said he got caught in a damaging cycle of gambling.

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


The President Casino closes early due to flood waters, but key issues remain unresolved

Casino Watch Focus has reported that Pinnacle Entertainment made a deal to close the President Casino, which would leave the 13th casino license up for grabs.  The President was scheduled to close July 1, however, The St Louis Business Journal is reporting that the casino was forced to close early due to flooding:

It’s official: the President Casino aboard the Admiral riverboat along the Mississippi River has closed for good. The owner of the Laclede’s Landing casino, Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment, has planned to close the President this Tuesday after receiving pressure from gaming regulators about the property’s poor financial performance. But the casino was shut down June 17 due to floodwaters, and operators announced Thursday that they would not reopen it.

Even though the casino has closed, the Casino has still not reached an agreement with the company’s employees.  The St Louis Post Dispatch explained:

The other piece of unfinished business involves the President’s roughly 200 remaining employees. Pinnacle and the union that represents some of them are in talks about severance packages or job opportunities at the company’s other two local casinos. But no deal has been reached.

The workers are planning a rally outside the President on Monday, what they thought would be its last day. Now, they will be rallying outside a boat that is empty for good.

The other unresolved issue involves the fate of the Admiral riverboat.  The Post Dispatch continued:

Its engines have been gone since 1979 and it needed last-minute welding even to open as a casino 16 years ago. Pinnacle would have had to spend millions fixing the hull to pass an inspection due this summer.

Now, without the revenue generated by a casino operation, it is hard to envision how the boat might be preserved, said Jeff Mansell, executive director of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, which named the Admiral to its “11 Most Endangered” list this year.

“You have to look at the expense, and it’s going to be tremendous,” he said. “It’s a unique resource. With it comes unique opportunities, but also unique problems.”

Mansell said he hasn’t heard of any proposals to buy and fix up the Admiral. A spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay said City Hall hasn’t heard much either. Pinnacle, which owns the boat, said it has a few preliminary meetings set up, but doesn’t know yet what it will do. “We’re still looking into it,” said spokesman Mack Bradley. “We obviously hope to have a decision soon.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 6/14-6/20

Police say Massachusetts parents left kids in Connecticut casino parking lot as they gambled

Two Massachusetts parents have been accused of leaving a 1-year-old and a 10-year-old alone in a car as they gambled at a Connecticut casino. Connecticut state police say Edwine Louissaint of Dedham and David Augustin of Milton face charges including second-degree reckless endangerment. Police found the children Thursday after being called to a garage at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. State police Lt. J. Paul Vance says video surveillance and gambling records showed Augustin and Louissaint were in the resort for more than an hour.

Records provide details on Reno woman’s death

Soon after his wife called him a “coward” Wednesday for allowing his secret gambling problem to deplete their finances, a 55-year-old unemployed man gripped his hands tightly around her throat and squeezed until she turned blue and stopped breathing, court records released Friday show.Samuel P. Kung then went outside to smoke a cigarette. Det. Troy Callahan wrote in his affidavit that Kung had quit his job as a cook in April, and that Kung had been hiding his gambling problem from his wife. He estimated he was in debt about $20,000, and his wife recently discovered his secret. Kung said he had taken out numerous small payday and vehicle title loans and used overdraft protection lines of credit through his bank and credit union. “Mr. Kung stated that he realized he had ruined his life, and that he deserves his punishment,” the affidavit said.

Kimberly Sziraki pleads no contest in $1.6 million embezzlement case

Prosecutors said Sziraki embezzled the $1.6 million between 2005 and 2008 from Central Valley Processing Acquisition Corp., a nut processing plant in Merced County where she worked as a manager. Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Bacciarini said the lion’s share of the money was spent on online gambling. She’s married to Merced County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Sziraki. Prosecutors have said there’s no evidence he was aware of the crimes.

Trooper dragged by van outside S. Ind. Casino

State police say a trooper trying to arrest a man at an Evansville casino was dragged while trying to stop him from driving away. Trooper Kylen Compton and two other troopers reported seeing a van drive over a concrete median at Casino Aztar Sunday night. They tried to arrest him after finding out that the driver was wanted on a forgery warrant, but he began to drive away.

State police say Compton reached through the window to try and stop the van when he was dragged about 15 feet before freeing himself.  Troopers caught the driver and a passenger after a traffic and foot chase. The driver was arrested on charges including battery on a police officer and drunken driving. Compton was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Former NBA star Antoine Walker ordered to face trial in Las Vegas for felony unpaid casino

A judge on Monday ordered former NBA all-star Antoine Walker to face trial on felony bad check charges that allege he failed to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts and penalties to three Las Vegas casinos. The 33-year-old Walker said nothing as he appeared Monday with his lawyer, Jonathan Powell, before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson. He remains free without bail until his June 30 arraignment in state court.  The judge noted that Walker hadn’t made any progress repaying some $770,000 he owes on a promise last November to pay $905,050 in restitution, court fees and penalties. At the time, Walker forfeited toward that amount the $135,000 cash bail he posted following his arrest at a celebrity golf tournament last July in Lake Tahoe.

Accused $1m diamond thief in court

An Australian man will face trial this week, accused of a brazen daylight theft which made headlines last year.
The target of the robbery was the Hardy Brothers jewellery store in Melbourne’s CBD.  A 9.1-carat round-cut solitaire diamond engagement ring, worth $1 million, was taken from the Collins Street jeweller. He admitted to previously serving a 10-month prison sentence in Australia for burglary in 2004, blaming the incident on “a gambling problem.”

NJ Woman Charged In $45M Real-Estate Ponzi Scheme

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged a New Jersey woman with running a $45 million Ponzi scheme, alleging she raised millions of dollars under the pretenses of investing in real estate and instead, among other uses, gambled it away in casinos. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York alleged that Antoinette Hodgson, a 58-year-old woman from Montclair, N.J., solicited tens of millions of dollars from New York and New Jersey investors, telling them she would spend the money to purchase and renovate residential real estate and either re-sell or rent the properties.

Phila. Man Accused of Leaving Tot in Car to Go Gambling

Authorities say a Philadelphia man gambled with his son’s life Tuesday evening at a casino in Bucks County — leaving the toddler in the car while he played slots. Donald Waige stopped at the Parx Casino — just for a little while, he’d later tell police, to cash in a credit on his player’s card. Cops say the Juniata Park man thought that was short enough to ditch his 15-month-old, leaving him in a running, locked car in the parking lot, with the AC cranked: “He didn’t realize that an hour had passed. He was only going to run in for about 10 minutes. And he seemed to think it was okay to leave the air conditioning on and leave his child in the car — which obviously is not acceptable — and 10 minutes turned into an hour.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 6/07-6/13

Teen charged with murder of state investigator

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says that gambling led to the robbery. “Cushshon-Bey and his accomplice had been involved in a dice game, shortly before that and lost all their money,” he says. “Bey announced he was going to commit a robbery. Shortly after…Mr. Thompson was approached, they attempted to rob him and the shooting took place.”

The only survivor of a shootout that left two dead is in jail, and has been charged with killing a former Pagedale police chief over the weekend. Billy Cushshon Bey has been charged with four felony counts, and is being held on $1 million bond.  Officers say Cushshon Bey did not act alone, but the former police chief killed the other suspect as he tried to defend himself.

Pa. man says he stalked and killed Atlantic City casino manager because gambling halls cheat

Mark Magee walked into the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort last year with a grudge and a gun. He believed the casino — like the 10 others in Atlantic City — cheats gamblers by electronically manipulating the outcome of table games like roulette and craps. And because of that, he felt, someone needed to die. Monday morning, Magee admitted in court that he fatally shot Ray Kot, a veteran shift manager at the Taj Mahal, whom he knew from regularly gambling there.

Murder suspect caught in Chicago

Authorities have caught a Quincy murder suspect. Twenty-eight-year-old Phillip S. Diaz Jr. of Chicago was arrested at a Chicago home  over the weekend. He is charged with first-degree murder in the May 23 shooting of 37-year-old Ian Barksdale of Quincy. Police say Diaz and Barksdale had an encounter at the Casino Starlite nightclub, where Barksdale was an employee. Diaz was arrested for fighting with Barksdale and later was released on bond. Officers were called to the parking lot of Hardee’s at 2916 Broadway a few hours later and found Barksdale with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Blessing Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:52 a.m.

Addiction Case Manager Accused of Embezzlement to Feed Gambling Addiction

A worker who’s job was to help those struggling with an addiction is accused of embezzling money to apparently feed an addiction of her own. The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor authorized an arrest warrant for Crystal Marvin who worked for Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City as a transitional house case manager. Marvin’s job was to support clients in their recovery from addiction, along with collecting rent. She’s accused of stealing more than six thousand dollars from client’s rent money over the span of a couple years. Instead of putting the all of the rent money in the agency’s account, she’s accused of taking it for herself. According to court records, she used the stolen money support her gambling addiction.

Woman Sentenced In Embezzlement Case

A woman who pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $345,000 from the company where she worked was sentenced Monday. Linda Ireland received probation on a 15-year prison sentence. However, she must serve 120 days at Metro Corrections first. Then Judge Mitch Perry placed her on probation so she can pay back the money she stole as an employee of Kentech Machinery as quickly as possible. Police said Ireland stole nearly $345,000 from the company to feed her gambling addiction.

Fired L.A. County worker arrested in tax fraud case

Federal authorities this week arrested a former Los Angeles County worker who allegedly used the personal information of more than 150 welfare applicants to file nearly $2 million in fraudulent claims for tax refunds. Trang Van Dinh, a 62-year-old resident of Glendale, worked for the county for a decade and filed the returns in a desperate attempt to pay gambling debts, county auditors said.

Police searching for Maryland Heights man accused of being ringleader in interstate drug ring

D.E.A. agents call “Operation Deliverance” a major blow to marijuana dealers in st. Louis.
In all 24 men and women are under indictment and 18 are in custody. More than $1 million in cash, along with weapons and cars were siezed. The bust also took out pot growing operations at homes like one on Fassen in south St. Louis. Agents say local casinos were used by the gang. But they didn’t gamble, they put small denominations in slot machines, printed vouchers, and traded it in for large bills. Across the nation Wednesday more than 420 arrests were made. Agents said this bust was connected to one of the mexican drug cartels, but they think it’s been dealt a serious blow across the country.

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


Missouri Gaming Commission approves 24-hr gambling

The Missouri Gaming Commission recently approved 24-hr gambling in Missouri Casinos.  The move has been made possible by the closing of The President Casino.  KPLR St Louis explains:

Many of the state’s 13 casinos already stay open 24 hours a day on weekends and holidays but close for several hours each day during the week.

That’s partly a function of the number of state enforcement agents available for each casino.
But the President Casino in St. Louis going out of business next month. Officials with the Missouri Gaming Commission say that means there will be enough agents available for transfer to other casinos to allow for the extended hours.

Clarence Greeno is the commission’s assistant deputy director of enforcement. Greeno says every casino that asked to begin 24-hour operations on July 1 will be allowed to do so.

The move has already prompted Ameristar to begin a massive expansion.  The Kansas City Star explains:

Ameristar Kansas City Casino and Hotel has announced a $14 million hotel expansion that will include 100 more rooms and a fitness center. The expansion is to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011. Ameristar extensively remodeled the hotel’s 184 rooms and lobby in mid-2006 and occupancy has been strong, the company said.

Ameristar expects that trend to continue since the Missouri Gaming Commission recently approved 24-hour gambling — scheduled to begin later this summer. The hotel addition will feature 80 deluxe rooms and 20 suites and connect into the hotel on each floor using the existing infrastructure.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 5/31-6/06

Man executed for stabbing 29 kindergarten children in China

A man who stabbed 29 children and three teachers last month in east China’s Jiangsu province was executed Sunday morning. Xu Yuyuan, 47, was executed at 9.39 a.m. by the Intermediate People’s Court of Taizhou City, Xinhua reported. He attacked the Zhongxin kindergarten in Taixing City April 29. Four of the victims were severely injured. Xu admitted his motive was to vent his rage against society after losing money in gambling and business, while suffering other setbacks in his personal life.

Edmond man sentenced to 3 years for embezzlement

A gambling addict was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for embezzling more than $200,000 from a private horsemen’s association to finance his bets and casino playing. Court records show he admitted using association funds to gamble at casinos, bet on horses at racetracks and make sports bets with bookies. He said he was a compulsive gambler and kept hoping to hit “the big one” and repay the funds before they were missed. “I couldn’t stop it,” he said Friday. “I was a very sick individual.”

Ex-office assistant accused of stealing $168,000 from Shakopee High School

The woman who served at the right hand of the school principal and was trusted with overseeing financial transactions at Shakopee High School has been accused of stealing more than $168,000 from its students. Deanna Marie Stanius, an 11-year high school administrative assistant, was charged Thursday with swindling $168,511 from the student activity account, which she allegedly used to feed her gambling habit. Investigators say Stanius cashed multiple school checks from May 2007 to April this year and even used her school credit card over the last couple years to get more than $8,000 in cash at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake.

Funds stolen to feed gambling habit

A MAN who stole from his employer to fund his gambling addiction was shocked to discover the extent of his crime after an audit revealed he had taken more than $12,800 over an eight-month period. David Popovski, 25, pleaded guilty in the Ballarat Magistrates Court to theft from his employer, Ballarat Stationers, from July last year to March this year. Police prosecutor Sergeant Bob Anderson told the court Popovski, from Wendouree, gradually stole the money taking from $5 to $100 each time.

Defence lawyer Jon Irwin said since being charged with theft his client had done a lot to get back on track.
“This is what happens when you get involved in gambling – he got hooked,” Mr Irwin said. “As is the case with gambling addicts they are always after that one big win.” Mr Irwin said it had been a relief for Popovski when he got caught and he realised how bad the addiction it had become.

Seven Illinois men sent to prison in dogfighting crackdown

Seven Illinois men caught during last summer’s major crackdown on dogfighting have been sent to prison for at least a year The sentences were handed down Tuesday in federal court. Each of the men must pay $100 and repay the Humane Society of Missouri for caring for the pit bills that were seized. The men faced six to 12 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors asked for double that, citing the men’s dogfighting history. Berry sponsored fights, bred, sold and fought dogs and had his kennel located next to a daycare facility, prosecutors wrote.

Quincy man jailed for stealing $1.2 million for $2,000-a-day Lottery fix

A Quincy man who stole $1.2 million from his employer to fuel a $2,000-a-day Lottery addiction has been sentenced to jail, the attorney general’s office said. Prosecutors alleged that Gauthier stole the money periodically from 2002 to late 2006 while he worked for Crothall Health Services Inc., a Chicago-based company that provided janitorial services to Boston Medical Center. Gauthier, an on-site manager, was responsible for collecting payments from the hospital. Prosecutors said Gauthier – by submitting fake invoices and depositing legitimate payments into a personal account – managed to steal 163 checks cumulatively valued at about $1.2 million.

Parents accused of stealing from Iraq War Veteran

The parents of an Iraq War Veteran wounded in a roadside bombing are now accused of stealing and gambling with his money. Michael and Lori Nault are both charged with theft for spending at least $53,000 on gambling expenses. Shane Nault of Eau Claire suffered brain damage and has been in a wheelchair since he was hurt in 2007. According to the criminal complaint, investigators found several withdrawals made at casinos in Black River Falls, Minnesota, and West Virginia from an account belonging to Shane Nault.

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


World cup expected to reach billions in world-wide gambling

Casino Watch Focus has reported many times on the impact that gambling has on major sporting events like the Super Bowl and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Even though these events have a global reach, their impact on the sports and gambling culture world-wide seldom raises to the level of the World Cup.  Fox News in Tampa reports how this years World Cup could be the largest gambling event to date:

In what could well turn out to be the biggest gambling event in history, untold billions in scores of different currencies will change hands through everything from British betting shops to Las Vegas sports books to office pools, handshakes and the World Wide Web by the time the 2010 World Cup comes to a close on July 11 with the championship match in Johannesburg, MarketWatch reported Tuesday.

Always a big betting draw, this year’s quadrennial soccer showdown is apt to be the largest yet, with both the timing of the games and the presence of so many longtime powerhouse teams building interest to a fever pitch across much of Europe.

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