A Brief Look at Crime 8/30 – 9/05

Big win at casino may have led to slaying, police believe

Detectives believe a man was followed home from a Hawaiian Gardens casino and robbed of his winnings before being killed on a Santa Ana street this morning. The unidentified victim, 55, had apparently won several thousands dollars before he was slain. Santa Ana police were alerted to the South Andres Place killing about 5:30 a.m. by a woman screaming for help. Arriving officers discovered a man lying in the street, having apparently been run over by an assailant. Dozens of $20 bills lay like confetti on the street. Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said the victim had won several thousand dollars early Friday at the casino.

Man Arrested for Hard Rock Rape

Seminole Police have arrested a man who they say raped a woman in the parking garage of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  in Hollywood in April. According to Seminole Police, Chavez and the unidentified woman met at a club at the Hard Rock that night and had made their way to the 7th floor deck of the parking garage of one of their vehicles. That’s when the alleged sexual assault occurred. After an over four-month investigation, Chavez was arrested.

‘Gamblaholic’ official admits $1.2M theft

A former head of audits for an Oklahoma agency overseeing school real estate has admitted embezzling $1.2 million to feed a gambling addiction. Roger Q. Melson Jr. pleaded guilty to 174 counts Friday, The Oklahoman reported. His lawyer, Billy Bock, called him a “gamblaholic” and said he is recovering. “He doesn’t gamble anymore, and he goes to several support groups,” Bock said. “He’s been humbled.”

Couple gets jail for leaving baby in casino garage

A Northern California couple who left their newborn daughter in a casino parking garage while they went gambling are heading to jail. A Placer County Superior Court judge sentenced [them] on Wednesday to 60 days. He also ordered them to attend a mandatory parenting class as part of a four-year probation sentence that could result in their regaining custody of the baby. The couple were arrested in April after a security guard at Thunder Valley Casino found their 7-week-old infant alone in a car. Investigators determined the baby had been there for about 2 1/2 hours.

Woman gets 15 years in Md. embezzlement case

A 50-year-old former bookkeeper for a prominent local developer has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after embezzling almost $900,000 and pleading guilty to theft in Circuit Court. “The Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office treats white collar crime very seriously. This case serves as a message to those entrusted with deep responsibility that they will be punished severely if they breach that duty,” said Davis Ruark, the state’s attorney. During a January 2010 interview with investigators, Joseph allegedly told police she had a “terrible gambling addiction” for about five to six years and didn’t know how much money she had spent on lottery tickets, Keno and slot machines, according to court records.

Fire company thief given house arrest

A former treasurer of the Dupont Volunteer Fire Department was sentenced Wednesday to 14 months in the county’s Intermediate Punishment Program for stealing more than $66,000 from the hose company. Lyons’ attorney, Charles Witaconis said his client had a gambling addiction and has attended and completed Gamblers Anonymous and has signed himself up for the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board self-exclusion program. Police said Lyons, a hose company volunteer since 1996, told them he was a gambler and lost approximately $250,000. He said he had been employed by Bank of America and was terminated because corporate security was notified of returned checks in his personal bank account.

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

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