A Brief Look at Crime 9/20 – 10/03

Australian mother jailed for starving her children

An Australian mother who admitted spending welfare money on cigarettes and gambling was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for starving, beating, and neglecting her children. Prosecutor Jim Pearce told the court the children were starved and sometimes forced to vomit if they ate when they were not supposed to. They were also made to stand against a wall all day and beaten for stepping out of line. When authorities were notified in June 2008, one child was hospitalized with hypothermia and all the children were taken into protective custody.

Police: Two women rob Caruthersville casino patron

CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. — Two women are suspects in a robbery of a casino patron. At 1:50 a.m. Tuesday, Caruthersville police were called to a hotel. The victim said he was robbed of $11,000 in cash and casino chips and gave a description of two women and their vehicle.  Caruthersville city marshal Chris Riggs said the vehicle was stopped on Highway 54 by Hayti, Mo., police, and $12,904.50 in cash and casino chips and a small amount of marijuana were found.

A 26-year-old Blytheville, Ark., resident was being held in the Pemiscot County Jail on charges of possession of marijuana and possession marijuana with intent to deliver. A 48-year-old woman, also of Blytheville, was released pending review of the case, Riggs said.

Fairfield Alum Embezzles $250,000

A Fairfield University graduate was sentenced to 37 months in prison for embezzling over $250,000 in campaign contributions from former Connecticut U.S. Representative, Christopher Shays. Michael Sohn’98 was sentenced last Tuesday after pleading guilty last March to stealing the money, which among other personal expenses, he used to pay for his fiancée’s $13,000 engagement ring. Sohn and his fiancée Aimee Renaud, also a former Shays staffer, were on a belated honeymoon in the Asia-Pacific when news of the scandal first broke. Sohn worked as Shays’ campaign manager for over three campaigns and is being called by sources, “like a member of the family.” Federal prosecutors said Sohn spent the money he stole from donors on gambling, expensive vacations and sports tickets.

Luckless gambler leaps to death from casino ship off Hong Kong

Hong Kong – A Chinese gambler drowned himself after losing  hundreds of thousands of US dollars on a giant floating casino in the  sea off Hong Kong, a news report said Monday.  The 51-year-old man from mainland China, identified only by his  family name of Xu, jumped from the 13-deck ship after losing 5  million Hong Kong dollars (644,000 US dollars) playing baccarat, the  Hong Kong Standard reported.  The Star Cruises SuperStar Aquarius was returning to Hong Kong  from international waters, where gambling is allowed, early on Sunday  morning when the man leapt. Rescuers searched for his body for almost an hour after he was  seen jumping off the boat before fishing him out of the water, the  Standard said. The ship’s doctor certified him dead.  

Bank manager accused of stealing from customers, gambling it away

A bank manager who two years ago was named “Woman of the Year” by the Tulare Chamber of Commerce was arrested Monday and charged with stealing nearly $700,000 from customers’ accounts, money she allegedly squandered at a Central Valley casino. She allegedly placed “mail holds” on customer accounts so they would not receive statements documenting the thefts, the attorney general’s office said in a news release. Sell, 55, could not be reached.  Sell withdrew $379,000 from ATMs at Tachi Palace casino in Lemoore and had “a serious gambling problem,” Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said in the news release.  “A person who was an honored and respected pillar of the community apparently took money for her own use that had been deposited, in full confidence that it would remain safe, by people she knew,” Brown said.

Newcastle School Worker Accused Of Stealing Money

A local school worker is accused of stealing thousands of dollars of school money for gambling. Prosecutors said Newcastle school business manager Diane Foster wrote checks to herself totaling nearly $30,000. The school district told Eyewitness News 5 they could have used this money for a number of things. Instead, investigators said, it went to prescription medication and gambling. According to court documents, the 57-year-old Foster is a district payroll clerk. Officers said “the money was stolen through payroll checks” that Foster had made out to herself.

Gambling addict sentenced for defrauding employer of £326,000

A 27-year-old-man, described as a ‘gentle giant’ by colleagues was jailed for huge fraud at Dungannon Magistrates Court last week, according to Tyrone Times newspaper. Leo McGirr has been sentenced to twenty months in prison after he swindled £326,000 out of his employers. The man, who had racked up huge gambling debts, stole the money over a period of two years from Tyrone Tiling Services Ltd to fund his gambling addiction.  McGrirr started working for the company in 2004 as an administrative assistant, and in May 2007 he started writing fraudulent cheques to himself. He forged his employer’s signature and made up fake customer names, forging the invoices to conceal the fraud.

Defence Barrister, Brian Fee, Q.C., said that McGirr had cooperated fully with the investigation, shown genuine remorse, and had demonstrated a determination to rid himself of his gambling addiction.  “This is a sad and frightening warning of the dangers arising from a gambling addiction,” he told the court. The court also heard how before his debt problems he was a hard-working man, who contributed positively in the community and came from a well respected family.

Embezzler sentenced to 6 months

New London, Conn. — The longtime business manager for a Ledyard condominium association who embezzled nearly $300,000 to keep up with gambling losses at area casinos was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison. Ledyard police said she wrote checks to herself with the forged signatures of condominium officials. Eddy, between 2005 and 2009, lost $226,428 on slots at Foxwoods and another $63,884 at Mohegan Sun.

“They trusted me, and I betrayed that trust,” Eddy said. “I have to live with that for the rest of my life. I’ve obviously caused undue harm to my family. I plan to work hard to regain that trust.” Handy said Eddy led a double life — on one hand a trusted employee at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, while embezzling money at her second job and spending tens of thousands of dollars on slot machines at the casinos.

Pension sought to repay $1.3 million embezzlement

DENVER — Patricia Martinez’s troubles with federal attorneys didn’t end when she was sentenced to six years in prison for embezzling almost $1.3 million from the Alamosa Housing Authority. Now, those attorneys want to garnish the $2,149 monthly pension of the 63-year old Martinez, who was executive director of the agency.  They want her pension to be applied toward to what she was ordered to pay as restitution. Martinez in November admitted her embezzling, saying she used the agency’s money for gambling. When she had made no payments by May 31, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado took action to garnish her retirement account at the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association.

Former charity boss jailed for $120,000 fraud

A former Diabetes Youth national president has been jailed for two years and eight months for stealing $120,000 to fund his online porn and gambling addiction. Adrian Coombe, 47, was sentenced in Palmerston North District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to 66 counts of fraud after stealing $44,000 from Manawatu Horowhenua Tararua Trust and $77,000 from Diabetes Manawatu over a 15-month period, Newstalk ZB reported. Coombe took the money by creating fake invoices and cashing cheques. Judge Gerard Lynch called the crime cold, callous and calculated.

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

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