Monthly Archives: October 2010

isle of capri attempts to buy the cape girardeau election by almost single handedly funding the pro-casino campaign

Casino Watch Focus reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC) will only consider three proposals for Missouri’s final casino license – one in Kansas City, one in St Louis, and one in Cape Girardeau should the vote to allow the casino pass.  It was also explained that the MGC favors the Cape location and they were positioning themselves to not give out the final license allowed by Missouri law should the vote in Cape not pass.  It’s clear that the battle for gambling expansion comes down to the this vote and its fair to say that the Isle of Capri casino agrees.  The South East Missourian reported they gave a sizable campaign contribution to the Yes for Gaming group in Cape:

Isle of Capri is gambling with house money, pouring $50,000 into the campaign coffers of the committee trying to convince Cape Girardeau voters to approve a $120 million casino in the Nov. 2 election.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. donated $50,000 to the campaign committee Yes for Gaming, according to a quarterly campaign report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The only other donation to the committee was $4,000 from Jim Riley and David Knight’s Dream Big LLC. Riley and Knight are the Cape Girardeau businessmen who own property where the casino is proposed for North Main Street.

The Quality of Life group, which opposes the casino, has only received $5,000 in donations.  The SE Missouri explains that the group is not surprised by the amount given by Isle of Capri, but hopes their grass roots movement will be effected against this clear attempt at buying the election:

Doug Austin, who heads the opposition group, said he was not shocked about the amount that Isle of Capri donated. But he said it looks as if the company is trying to buy the election.

“It reeks to the high heavens,” Austin said. “Our money is coming from the citizens of Cape Girardeau, not the gambling industry. Fifty thousand dollars boggles my mind. It shows what kind of money they have available with money that they got from people losing in their casinos.”

Melvin Gateley, the treasurer for Quality of Life, said his organization is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to buying advertising, yard signs and fliers.

“I’m sorry to see it, but I knew it was coming,” Gateley said. “But we’re just going to be ourselves and keep doing our grassroots work and let people know what we think a casino would do to this community.”

Those in the community continue to speak out against the casino.  The newspaper is one of those grassroots means that the opposition has used to send its message.  In an editorial titled “Casino vote will have severe implications” published by the SE Missourian, Mark Anderson outlines many key issues ranging from family issues to business issues.  Please take some time to read the entire article here and if you are in the Cape Girardeau community, please seek out the Quality for Life group to help the grass roots movement and take a stand against yet another casino looking to buy an election.

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

Advertisements

A Brief Look at Crime 10/18 – 10/24

Tragic young mother addicted to pokies commits suicide

A coroner has found a direct link between a young mother’s suicide and her addiction to poker machines. Katherine Natt, 24, died in August 2006 after taking an overdose of paracetamol. South Australian Coroner Mark Johns said a suicide note left by the Adelaide woman indicated she had been addicted to poker machines for some time, losing thousands of dollars.

“Katherine’s suicide note and the evidence taken at this inquest show that she was addicted to gambling on poker machines as a result of which she suffered heavy financial losses and became concerned that she would lose the custody of one or both of her children,” Mr Johns said in his finding. “In consequence of these matters she took an overdose of paracetamol in what was a clear act of suicide.”

Woman’s online gambling led to £88,000 loan fraud

A 50-YEAR-OLD woman fraudulently took out two loans totalling £88,000 after developing a gambling habit on the internet. [She] was forced to finish work through ill health and became addicted to an internet gaming site. She initially funded her new-found pastime from her savings but when they ran out in 2005 she took out a loan for £37,000 from a personal finance company.

But prosecutor Neil Ahuja told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday that Mountford applied and secured the loan using forged signatures of her husband David and a neighbour, who was named as a witness. Mountford took out a second loan for £51,000 with the same company in March 2006, again using forged signatures.

Iowa horse trainer accused of injecting horses

A horse trainer in Iowa faces criminal charges for a horse-racing violation. The Des Moines Register says prosecutors have charged Brian Muse with three felony counts of cheating at a gambling game. Muse allegedly injected two horses with unknown substances on Sept. 24 before a quarter-horse race at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino near Des Moines. The Register obtained a report from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which shows the allegation stems from surveillance camera in Muse’s barn.

Detroit Family Accused Of Operating Illegal Multi-State Gambling Business

A criminal complaint, unsealed Wednesday, showed that an investigation had found that a couple and their son had been operating an illegal gambling business, focused on a lottery using legitimate lotto numbers, had been uncovered. Charges have only recently been filed against the couple and their son, though seizures began in 2007. Operating an illegal gambling business without a license in the state of Michigan is a felony. The felony could be accompanied by a decades imprisonment as well as massive fines.

Fatal argument over gambling, court hears

A MELBOURNE man fatally stabbed his wife with a kitchen knife during an argument in January last year about him going to the casino to gamble, a court has heard. The jury heard today that Lubik and his wife, who married shortly after meeting in 2006, became involved in an argument on the night she died after he told her he was going to the casino to gamble. Along with his drinking, Lubik’s gambling had caused constant problems in their marriage, the court heard.

Prosecutor Daryl Brown said as a result of this confrontation, Mrs Lubik received a five centimetre stab wound to her throat which severed her carotid artery. Despite giving the operator the impression that he was complying with instructions to administer CPR by rolling his wife on to her back, Mrs Lubik was still face-down when police and paramedics arrived.

Reputed mobster accused of extortion and illegal gambling

Reputed New England mobster Darin Bufalino, whose criminal exploits span several decades, was arrested at his Winthrop home last night by State Police as part of a sweeping investigation into organized crime and drug dealing, according to law enforcement officials. Giallanella, who also goes by the name Jason Peters, is charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, assault and battery, witness intimidation, attempt to procure perjury, loan sharking, and illegal gambling.

Former Flemington man sentenced to 33 months for embezzling $656,200

A former Flemington resident was sentenced Wednesday to 33 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $656,000 from his employer by making unauthorized ATM withdrawals using fuel cards that he ordered in the name of company truck drivers. Hamm, who pleaded guilty May 4, had been free on $100,000 bond and was attending counseling for his gambling, according to court papers.

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


And Then There Were Three

Casino Watch Focus reported that four companies remained in the hunt for Missouri’s 13th casino license and that the Missouri Gaming Commission was holding a meeting to hear a more in-depth proposal from each candidate.  Now the St Louis Business Journal is reporting that one of the four companies has now been eliminated from consideration following the meeting:

Missouri Gaming Commission Chairman Jim Mathewson told reporters that North County Development LLC was knocked out after not participating in Wednesday’s public hearings in Jefferson City.

Ed Griesedieck, a Herzog Crebs attorney who represents North County Development, said the group needed more time to raise money for the Riverview Casino project. He had sent a letter to the commission saying that, given the size and complexity of the proposal, significant additional funding and sophisticated operating and funding partnerships would be required. If the extension isn’t granted, “we will regretfully need to withdraw” at this time, he wrote.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/11 – 10/17

NW Missouri bank employee pleads guilty to embezzling $400,000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A northwest Missouri bank employee has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $414,000 over a seven-year period. Federal prosecutors say 55-year-old Laurine K. Calvert of Polo used some of the stolen money for monthly gambling trips at Kansas City casinos. Calvert pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Sentencing will be scheduled later. She faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine plus restitution.

Wife of ex-Fairfield supervisor pleads guilty to stealing nearly $378,000

The wife of the former Fairfield town supervisor admitted in Herkimer County Court Friday morning that she stole nearly $378,000 in town funds to fuel her gambling addiction. A judgment will also be ordered against Matthews to pay back the town’s stolen funds totaling $377,976.95, Kirk said. While Matthews’ husband, Frank Matthews, was Fairfield town supervisor between May 2006 and November 2009, Randi Matthews admitted that she would repeatedly drain the town’s account by forging documents and tampering with public records to cover up the thefts. After the proceeding, prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Jeff Carpenter said that Frank Matthews is still under investigaiton to determine whether he will face any criminal charges in connection with the thefts.

Woman accused of embezzling $480K from employer

An Indianapolis woman is accused of embezzling nearly a half a million dollars from her employer. Police say the owner of Frakes Engineering, James Frakes contacted them on Thursday.  Frakes told police his employee has a gambling problem and had embezzled approximately $480,000 from his business since 2006. Just 10 days prior to contacting them, Frakes told police he discovered that the employee had been writing checks from the company to the employee.

More indictments may be coming in state gambling probe

Websites like Doc’s Political Parlor are suggesting more indictments are coming soon in the statehouse corruption probe of state government. UAB political pollster Larry Powell said Monday he is very aware of the speculations. “There are rumors flying faster than newspapers and TV can cover them,” Powell said. “It’s hard to tell which ones are true.”
Last Monday in Washington, D.C., U.S. Justice Department officials announced indictments against 11 people, including four state lawmakers, three lobbyists and electronic casino owners Milton McGregor and Ronald Gillley. The FBI official over the investigation said then the probe was far from over.

“The investigation is ongoing,”  Kevin Perkins, Asst. FBI  Director said. “The FBI and it’s partners will continue to investigate allegations of public corruption to insure persons placed in positions of trust by citizens of Alabama accountable for their action.”Alabama Sen. Jabo Waggoner, the state senate minority leader, said he expects more arrests will be coming.

Charges filed in Iowa casino investigation

A special prosecutor has filed charges against four people and two gambling entities after an investigation into campaign contributions made to Iowa Gov. Chet Culver by gaming interests in Webster County. Special Counsel Lawrence F. Scalise says he filed the charges Monday in Polk County District Court. Martin Brent Stevens, Jonathan Swain, Steve Daniel and Curtis Beason, as well Peninsula Gaming Partners LLC and Webster County Entertainment were charged with violating campaign disclosure laws. Beason faces an additional count of obstruction.

59-month prison term for NJ crime family associate

New Jersey man described by prosecutors as a top associate of the Gambino crime family has been sentenced to 59 months in prison on a federal racketeering charge. Fifty-seven-year-old Ralph Cicalese of Roseland pleaded guilty last year to a racketeering conspiracy charge. He was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark. Prosecutors say Cicalese ran an illegal gambling operation for the mob, collected debts through threats of violence, extorted lunch truck vendors and received unlawful labor payments.

Dead man named in illegal gambling charges

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against a Detroit man accused of running an illegal lottery. His lawyer says there’s a problem: Herbert Daniels Sr. is dead. Daniels and wife Willie Mae Truvillion were named in a criminal complaint that had been sealed since March 31. The U.S. attorney’s office just learned about Daniels’ recent death and will drop the case against him when it gets official notification, spokeswoman Gina Balaya said.

East Hanover, NJ, financial planner mulls 10-year plea deal; charged with $1.9M theft

A former financial planner for an East Hanover company has until Dec. 8 to consider a 10-year state prison plea offer to resolve charges of stealing $1.9 million to support an online gambling addiction. State Deputy Attorney General John Kennedy conveyed the plea offer Wednesday to the defendant, Oakland resident Daniel J. Trolaro, 34, during a status conference in state Superior Court, Morristown. Trolaro is charged with financial facilitation of criminal activity, and 10  counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received. The amounts authorities say were pilfered from clients ranged from $46,000 to $910,000.

Ex-sumo wrestler pleads not guilty to trying to extort Y100 mil

A former sumo wrestler pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charge of attempting to extort 100 million yen in hush money from former ozeki Kotomitsuki in connection with illegal gambling on professional baseball games. Mitsutomo Furuichi, 38, is alleged to have demanded the money from Kotomitsuki in March along with two mobsters, Satohiro Mantani, 37, and Yoshihiko Yasuda, 46, threatening to disclose Kotomitsuki’s involvement in illegal gambling to the media.

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


Missouri Gaming Commission to hear casino plans Oct 20th and decide by Thanksgiving

Casino Watch Focus has reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission favors Cape Girardeau as the next location for a new casino.  The Missouri Gaming Commission not only considers the location, but also the specific casino plan for those areas.  The South East Missourian is reporting that the Gaming Commission will meet soon and plan to decide by Thanksgiving:

Isle of Capri and city officials will try to convince the Missouri Gaming Commission that Cape Girardeau is the best choice for the state’s newest casino Oct. 20 at a hearing in Jefferson City.

After that, a decision between the four applicants — three if Cape Girardeau voters say no at the ballot box Nov. 2 — should come by Thanksgiving, said commission chairman Jim Mathewson.

The five-member commission will hear proposals from representatives of all four proposed casinos beginning at 9 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Jefferson City. Mathewson said each presentation will last up to one hour. The order of the presentations will be determined by lottery, he said.

The Gaming Commission has said they will be looking for companies that are financially strong and will remain so for years to come.  They will also be factoring the state’s Department of Economic Development economic impact analysis which should be completed by the end of the month. Those against the casino in Cape hope it never gets that far.  The South East Missourian continues:

“I understand their process,” [Doug Austin, who is leading the opposition to a casino with his campaign committee Quality of Life in Cape Girardeau] said. “They’re gathering all their facts and data. But I’m hoping it never gets that far. Obviously, I’m against casinos, whatever facts and figures they present.” The group, Austin said, plans to put yard signs up in the next week, as well as launch anti-casino campaign ads on radio and newspapers.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/4 – 10/10

Man in Malaysia Fakes Own Kidnapping for Gambling Money

Last Friday, the man began sending text messages to his wife, frantically explaining that loan sharks had kidnapped him and were threatening him bodily harm or worse unless he paid up on a 25,000-ringgit (about $8,100) debt. The man instructed his wife to put the cash into his bank account.

Unfortunately, the plan backfired when the wife panicked at the thought of her loving husband being coerced by bad guys – and so she went directly to the police rather than the bank.  As the man continued sending surely more hysterical-sounding text messages to his wife’s phone through Sunday, police were eventually able to track his calls. As a local police chief said, “When we found him, the man was busy placing bets in [a casino near Kuala Lampur]. We intend to have the man charged with extortion.”

Ala. casino owner, 4 state senators, lobbyists accused of vote buying

The owner of Alabama’s largest casino, four state senators and several top lobbyists have been indicted on federal charges accusing them of vote buying on a bill to legalize electronic bingo, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. The Associated Press, which broke the story, quotes unidentified sources as saying that Milton McGregor, owner of VictoryLand casino, and state Sen. Harri Anne Smith were arrested this morning. VictoryLand casino, now closed, has more than 6,000 electronic bingo machines. The federal charges accuse casino owners and statehouse figures of conspiring to make payments and campaign donations to affect “pro-gambling legislation,” the newspaper says.

Indiana dealer caught up in scam: Caesars possibly lost $1.3 million

Caesars, now Horseshoe Southern Indiana, may have lost as much as $1.3 million in what authorities said was part of the largest, most brazen casino cheating scheme in U.S. history. The Justice Department has never put a dollar value on the full swindle that was busted three years ago and involved dozens of casinos in several states. “These guys were good, very sophisticated,” said Bill Zender, a Las Vegas casino surveillance expert who assisted with a related theft investigation at Emerald Queen Casino in suburban Seattle. The operation carried out by the “Tran Organization” — so named because many of the suspects were named Tran — was accused of hitting about 40 casinos in the United States and Canada starting in 2002, recruiting the assistance of blackjack and mini-baccarat dealers at targeted gaming spots.

Report: Sisters charged with beating their father for gambling away their mom’s money

Two sisters were arrested Monday and a third may also be sought on charges that they beat up and robbed their father, who they accused of taking needed money from their mother’s bank account and gambling it away, according to an Ocala.com report. According to the report, [they] were charged with grand theft auto, battery and robbery by sudden snatching in connection with the beating incident, which police say took place on Monday at a hospital where their mother was a patient.

Mass. congressman’s wife to plead guilty to tax charges related to brother’s gambling business

BOSTON (AP) — The wife of Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney is set to plead guilty to federal charges she helped her brother conceal income from an alleged illegal offshore gambling business that generated millions of dollars. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Patrice Tierney of Salem will plead guilty Wednesday to aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns related to her fugitive brother, Robert Eremian.  Tierney, a Democratic incumbent who is facing a Republican challenger in next month’s election, said his wife accepts full responsibility for being “willfully blind” to her brother’s actions.

Ore. woman, 61, gets 15 years for $1.5M in thefts

An Oregon woman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzling more than $1.5 million from a timber company to feed a gambling habit. The Register-Guard reported that 61-year-old Doris Jean Harris pleaded guilty to 68 counts of felony theft over a six-year period as bookkeeper for Transition Management Inc. The Eugene newspaper said the thefts were discovered after the death of Ray Swanson, who hired Harris right out of high school as a secretary at Swanson Superior Lumber Co. in Noti.

Ex-W.Va. lawmaker pleads guilty in gambling case

A former West Virginia lawmaker faces the loss of his video lottery leasing business and possible prison time after pleading guilty Thursday to paying employees under the table and running illegal gambling across state lines. Ex-Delegate Joe C. Ferrell of Chapmanville also paid $602,000 as part of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors. It requires him to quit the lottery business and divest from Southern Amusement, which provides 639 video lottery terminals to 118 bars and clubs in the state.

Those terms should spare the company, one of lottery system’s largest leasing outfits that was granted a renewed license last month. It was a co-defendant in the case, but prosecutors agreed to its dismissal and dropped efforts to seize its assets. U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. set a Jan. 5 sentencing hearing for the 63-year-old Democrat, who represented Logan County in the House of Delegates for seven nonconsecutive terms between the 1980s and 2006.

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


Missouri Gaming Commission may not award the 13th Casino License

Casino Watch Focus reported that after the September deadline for casino applications, only five proposals were turned in. Then,  The St Louis Post Dispatch reported that the Gaming Commission rejected one of the Sugar Creek application because it was incomplete leaving only four to be considered.  The clear consensus has been that the Missouri Gaming Commission is favoring Cape Girardeau.  There is a very real possibility that the city could vote against the casino leaving the Gaming Commission with only three applications. Now, the Columbia Missourian is reporting that the Gaming Commission is considering not awarding a company the 13th license:

Who will get Missouri’s 13th casino license? Maybe no one, according to Missouri Gaming Commission chairman Jim Mathewson, who will be in Cape Girardeau on Monday to lead the public hearing at the River Campus at Southeast Missouri State University.

“Not doing one is an option,” said the former state senator from Sedalia. “The law says you can’t have more than 13, not that you have to have 13.”

While that scenario seems unlikely, Mathewson said he is awaiting a study being done by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

The questions he wants answered before he votes include:

  • What will the economic impact of a casino be?
  • How much profit will a 13th casino take from the other 12?
  • Would it work better in one part of the state or another?
  • Exactly how much new revenue for the state would a 13th casino create?

“If our study comes out and says that we’re not really creating any new revenue, all we’re doing is stealing from Peter to pay Paul, what’s the point?” Mathewson said.

It seems even more apparent now that the vote in Cape Girardeau is the single most important factor in the expansion of gambling in Missouri.  It’s clear that the Commission is positioning itself to hold back the license and possibly reopen bids for next year in the event the Cape casino proposal is defeated.  A vote against gambling in Cape, could be a vote to help protect families all across the state.

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