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

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