Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Brief Look at Crime 11/15 – 11/21

Man Charged With Murder in Court Monday

A Lee’s Summit man charged with first degree murder will be arraigned at the Pettis County Courthouse today. 45-year-old Daniel Maschger is accused of stabbing and killing 76-year-old Rebeka Marcus of Sedalia. This could be the last time Maschger appears at the courthouse. He is requesting a change of judge and venue. The Supreme Court of Missouri allows for a change of venue from a county with fewer than 75,000 residents. That is to guarantee a fair trial from an area where residents are more likely to know about the case. The married father of two is currently being held at the Pettis County Jail. He says a gambling addiction motivated the attack on Marcus.

Woman cites gambling addiction in theft

Kingston resident Marisa Harlen admitted Wednesday before the start of a preliminary hearing that she took money from her elderly aunt to support a gambling addiction. “If I could take back what happened, I would,” Harlen said while speaking with members of the media. “I’m absolutely sorry … .” Harlen was charged in September with taking more than $107,000 from her aunt, Louise Mary Olenik, 81, after being granted power of attorney over her aunt’s finances.

Builder repaid for Cape lawyer’s theft

A contractor bilked out of more than a half million dollars by a Cape attorney is getting his money back. It’s the second largest award ever granted by the Massachusetts Clients Security Board, a quasi state panel that makes good on money stolen from attorneys’ clients. Norman Sasville, 63, of Middleboro was awarded $656,000 by the state board. He’s one of 92 clients awarded $2.4 million by the board this year, according to a press release issued this week.

Sasville was bilked out of the money by John “Jack” Roberts, 60, a Dennis attorney who has since been disbarred. Roberts pleaded guilty in May to embezzling the money from Sasville. “Mr. Roberts collected $1,356,909.49, disbursed $700,994.89 to or for the benefit of (Sasville), and misappropriated the balance for his gambling addiction,” the board stated in its narrative on the case.

Man stole $139,000 in takings

A Papamoa man with a serious gambling habit has admitted he stole $139,112 while employed as manager of Tauranga Lone Star Restaurant. To facilitate the theft he would transfer the cost of patrons’ meals and other items to a another table number in the restaurant which did not exist. He then deleted the cost of the meals from the patrons’ table so there was no trace when he cashed up. Between 2008 and the end of August this year he took $139,112 from the restaurant’s takings in amounts of between $3.50 and $360 a time. He told police he was under stress and had a gambling habit.

Police: Mother Left Child in Cold Car While She Gambled

STARK COUNTY, Ohio — A mother was taken into custody after police say she left her four-year-old son sleeping in the back seat of a car, on a near freezing night, while she gambled. When deputies arrived they found a small child sleeping in the back seat of the vehicle. The car was not running at the time. According to deputies the temperature when they arrived, reported by the weather bureau at the Akron-Canton Airport, was 36 degrees. An employee told police Johnson had been at the Cyber City Cafe for over four hours. The boy was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services and Johnson was booked at the Stark County Jail, charged with one count of child endangering.

Man sentenced to 8 years for tax fraud

A man who used other people’s identification and Social Security numbers obtained through his tax preparation service in California to collect fraudulent tax refunds from Hawaii and 23 other states is going to federal prison. A federal judge sentenced Michael Stringer today to eight years in prison for wire fraud and aggravated ID theft. The judge also ordered Stringer to repay $1,072,977 in fraudulent tax refunds he collected from 2007 and 2009. The Hawaii portion of the restitution is $282,004, according to court records. Authorities said Stringer used the money he stole to support his $1,500 per week gambling addiction. When investigators caught up with him last year, they recovered less than $10,000 of the stolen money.

Convicted ex-Land Office employee surrenders self

A former employee of the Commissioners of the Land Office in Oklahoma who embezzled $1.16 million from the agency has surrendered to authorities. Roger Melson turned himself in Monday before Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson to begin serving a 10-year prison sentence. He will be processed at the Oklahoma County Jail before being sent to the state prison system.

The 56-year-0ld Melson was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in August to 174 counts of embezzlement. His attorney has said Melson embezzled to feed a gambling habit. The Land Office manages land for public schools and collects oil and gas royalties from mineral leases. The money is distributed among public schools in the state.

Longtime Genovese mobster Anthony Antico gets nine years in prison for illicit gambling club

Longtime Genovese mobster Anthony Antico was sentenced Wednesday to nine years for racketeering and running an illegal gambling club on Staten Island while he was in prison. The sentence was particulary heavy considering that Antico, 74, was acquitted by a Brooklyn jury of the most serious charge of ordering the fatal robbery of mobbed-up jeweler Louis Antonelli in 2008. But Federal Judge Carol Amon ruled that the testimony of snitch Salvatore (Sally Fish) Maniscalco tying Antico to the heist was credible and should be factored in the sentence.

Trial of man charged with fatally shooting three people in Newark gambling hall begins

The trial of a man accused of fatally shooting three people inside a late-night gambling hall five years ago opened this morning, with the assistant prosecutor saying the gunfire erupted during an argument over a dice game. David Jackson, now 25, is charged with opening fire inside the SJMJ Democratic Social Club on Sept. 28, 2005, killing Cynthia Corbett, 46, and Jessie Young, 44, and wounding two others. One of those injured in the shooting, Yusef Muhammad, died three years later, of complications from the gunshot wound, authorities said. He was 48 at the time of his death.

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

Mid-term elections deal a blow to pro-online gambling interests; Rep Barney Frank is out of power

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga by Rep. Barney Frank to attempt to legalize online gambling.  Now that the Mid-term elections have change the balance of power in the house, an online source explains that some major changes are imminent:

Online gambling’s biggest ally is expected to be replaced by the industry’s most outspoken opponent.  With the Republicans taking control of the House, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus would probably be named the new Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, currently chaired by Barney Frank.

Bachus has been in staunch opposition to legalized online gambling, including Internet poker.  Frank has attempted to pass legislation that would license and regulate the multi-billion dollar industry within the United States.

It is not a guarantee that Bachus would take over the position, but if he does, he has a track record in various leadership roles of obstructing attempts to legalize gambling related activities.  It seems quite clear that internet gambling will remain illegal for the next few years.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/08 – 11/14

Rivers Casino Has Another Incident Of Leaving Children In Car

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has stressed to casinos in the state that underage gambling would not be permitted inside the casinos. Perhaps that is why parents continue to leave their children in cars while the parents are inside gambling.  The latest incident of this heinous crime came on Saturday when two adults were arrested and charged in conjunction with leaving two children in the car while they gambled at the Rivers Casino. Rivers is one of the newest casinos in the state, and it has amped up security in the parking lot to avoid these situations.

This crime has become common in Pennsylvania in recent months. The Gaming Board has warned several casinos about protecting against this occurrence. The casinos have been advised to add security, and to also train security to look for this type of behavior.

Potato Peeler Robber Who Held Up Bookies Gets 5 Years Prison

In one of the more bizarre robberies ever reported, a man was sentenced to 5 years behind bars for robbing a bookmaker.  The weapon:  A potato peeler! Gary McGain, 29, hid the peeler in a sockso it looked like a gun and pointed it at a cashier’s head. McGain appears to have been a serial robber, having hit the same bookmakers on at least one previous occasion. The perpetrator is said to have had a gambling problem, owing significant amounts of money to a local loan shark.

Ex-pharmacy aide gets 1 year, must pay $366,054 for selling diabetic supplies stolen from Everett hospital

Worley is alleged to have stolen $366,054 worth of insulin with an estimated retail value of more than than $1.2 million. Pepin resold the the supplies through his business, First Medical Resources, Inc. According to authorities, the insulin was not refrigerated during shipping or storing, which made it potentially unsafe for use. The insulin and test strips were being sold to small pharmacies or other distributors who may not have been aware that First Medical Resources was not a licensed drug wholesaler in Florida. Worley told investigators he has a gambling addiction and spent most of the money at casinos and on lottery tickets. Since his arrest, he has participated in Gamblers Anonymous. He told the court he suffered “great shame and could not walk to the mail box or grocery store” in the weeks following his indictment.

Feds raid company alleged to be paying local online poker players

Federal prosecutors in Seattle have moved to seize $553,000 from a Canadian company they say is facilitating payments to online poker players. In a civil complaint filed earlier this month, prosecutors asked a U.S. District Court judge to order the balance of six bank accounts associated with the service be forfeited to the government. Prosecutors claim the service, identified in court documents as Secure Money, Inc., sent payments to Washington poker players using online gambling sites in violation of state law. In essence, prosecutors contend Secure Money, Inc., paid out poker players after they won money playing online. The checks labeled as “payroll” payments, according to the complaint, were mailed to players.

Network manager admits defrauding company to feed gambling habit

After he had burned through his family’s assets to feed his gambling addiction, Phillip Adrian Webb found, quite by accident, a way to get his employer to pay for it.  As the head of a credit union’s computer network system, Webb knew that when he needed a replacement part from Cisco Systems Inc., they’d send him one and ask him to return the defective part. But he discovered the company seldom checked to see if the faulty part he sent back was actually what he told them it was.

So in the spring of 2007, he hatched the scheme: Tell Cisco he needed a new piece of computer hardware, then when it arrived, he’d sell it online and pocket the proceeds. He then sent some cheap second-hand part back to the company, telling them it was his original broken part. Over a two-year period, the scheme cost Cisco more than $388,000.

Police officer’s wife sentenced for stealing

A Tauranga police detective’s wife has been sentenced to home detention and community work after she stole more than $25,000 from an 84-year-old widow and a bank to bankroll her secret gambling addiction. Forty-four-year-old Vicki Lee McCaskie – the wife of police officer Rob McCaskie – stole $17,591.51 from the widow and $8000 from her employer, Westpac, to cover gambling losses her family knew nothing about, the Bay of Plenty Times reported.

She was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday to five months’ home detention and 250 hours’ community work after earlier pleading guilty to five charges of obtaining by deception and one charge of theft by a person in a special relationship. McCaskie developed a personal relationship with the victim after her husband died and would help her with transactions. Between July and October last year, McCaskie made numerous withdrawals from her two bank accounts.

Stanius pleads guilty to all charges in school thefts

A former Shakopee High School administrative assistant pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $168,000 from a student activity account. Deanna Stanius, 50, of Burnsville pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court to all six counts of theft by swindle. All counts are felonies. The guilty pleas were offered without any plea agreement. Tamburino said while his client doesn’t want to make excuses, Stanius has a severe gambling addiction and suffers from depression. Stanius has received some inpatient treatment for her addiction, he said. “It’s today’s world, gambling is pretty prevalent and is easy to get to … and it took her in,” he said. “It just took over everything.”

Embezzler ordered to serve suspended prison term

A Baltimore judge on Monday ordered a Reisterstown man to serve a five-year prison term that was suspended nearly 20 years ago, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office announced. Roy H. Adler, 52, was convicted in 1991 of embezzling more than $4 million from his employer and Blue Cross/Blue Shield while working as an accountant. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with half of it suspended, and ordered to pay $3.2 million restitution. But Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lynn K. Stewart on Monday ordered him to complete the remainder after finding that he’d stopped paying the money he owed more than two years ago. Adler, who has admitted a gambling problem, is scheduled to stand trial in February on another case alleging he wrote several bad checks.

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

Why the MGC should not award a new casino license during its Dec 1 meeting

The Kansas City Star reported that the Missouri Gaming Commission met last week in a closed doors session to review the financial information regarding each proposal.  The next regular meeting takes place Dec 1st, and its possible the MGC will make their decision during that time.  However, as reported by Casino Watch Focus, the MGC said they might not award a casino license at all, explaining that the law only sets the cap on licenses at 13, but requires no minimum number. Casino Watch Focus has outlined many reasons why a new casino would represent great danger to Missouri families, but an op-ed piece published in the South East Missourian explains that a new casino represents terrible consequences for those living in the region:

Public officials are often jubilant over the idea of casinos sapping every dollar they can from those same citizens whose welfare they are committed to protect. We saw it recently upon the license approval of the new “River City Casino” in St. Louis.  It was anticipated to produce $200 million a year … more than $500,000 a day … in gambling losses of the people to River City. Public official and the casino people — in an apparent “de facto” partnership celebrated together!

For years we have known from experience and from studies (such as in the St. Louis Law Journal, Winter, 1995, by Professor John Warren Kindt of the University of Illinois) that when gambling options increase in a region, so do the related problems: more compulsive gamblers, more crime, more thoughts of suicides by the inevitable numbers of area people who become addicted (with some actually committing suicides), more embezzlements, more corruption of public officials…  I could go on.


Adding a new casino in Cape Girardeau will expose an unimaginable amount of new families to gambling’s dangers.   Please read the entire article here and for more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH, & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

A Brief Look at Crime 11/01 – 11/07

Miami police confiscates illegal gambling machines in sweep

A Miami police sweep —    dubbed Operation Lucky 7 — has confiscated 410 illegal gambling machines from city businesses, authorities said on Wednesday. The crackdown came following complaints that the popular illegal gambling machines, confiscated in a sweep several years ago, were back at some local establishments. Police spent several weeks identifying cafeterias, convenience and mom-and-pop stores and even hardware stores that had set up the machines. Most were found in Little Havana and Allapattah. The illegal and unregulated machines are games of chance and some pay out replays or points that can be redeemed for cash at the establishment.

Man sent to prison in Greektown Casino theft, death

Eugene Thomas was sentenced to prison today for causing the heart-attack death of a 91-year-old who chased him from the Greektown Casino after Thomas swiped and ran with the elderly gambler’s $244 winnings voucher.  Wayne County Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow accepted a plea-bargain agreement that called for sentencing Thomas to five to 15 years after he pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter and larceny from a person, stemming from the May 26 death of Frank Pierce of Southgate. Thomas originally had been charged with robbery and felony murder, punishable by up to life.

Self-Exclusion List Violations Lead to $40,000 Fine for PA Casino

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today fined Mount Airy #1 LLC, operator of Mount Airy Casino Resort, $40,000 for allowing individuals on the statewide Self-Exclusion List to gain access to the gaming floor and place wagers, and for sending promotional mailings to a self-excluded individual.

The Self-Exclusion Program is administered by the PGCB and assists problem gamblers who choose to ban themselves from gambling at Pennsylvania casinos. Once a person is placed on the Self-Exclusion List, gaming facilities in the Commonwealth must refuse wagers from, and deny gaming privileges to, a self-excluded person, including issuance of a player’s club membership.  The casino must also remove self-excluded persons from targeted mailings and other forms of advertising or promotions.  If an individual on the Self-Exclusion List enters a Pennsylvania casino, they will be subject to arrest for trespass.

Prosecutor: Wire taps for 2 Alabama casino owners

A federal prosecutor revealed Thursday that investigators tapped the phone calls of two casino owners and a casino lobbyist before issuing indictments in Alabama’s gambling probe. Justice Department prosecutor Peter Ainsworth said in a court hearing that investigators recorded thousands of phone calls involving VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley and that casino’s lobbyist Jarrod Massey.

Those three and eight others were arrested Oct. 4, accused of buying and selling votes on pro-gambling legislation. The indictment recounted phone conversations between some of them, but it did not reveal publicly which parties’ phones were tapped. The first public disclosure came Thursday. Prosecutors have given defense attorneys tape recordings of 3,000 intercepted calls they say are pertinent to the bribery and conspiracy charges against the defendants. A federal judge will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether prosecutors must turn over several thousand more.

Rosemount man facing felony tax charges

The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced today (Thursday, Oct. 28) that the Dakota County Attorney’s Office recently charged Rickey Pouncil, 46, of Rosemount, with five felony tax crimes. Pouncil is charged with five counts of failing to file tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2008. According to the complaint, Pouncil was involved in an extortion scheme that resulted in suicide by the victim. An investigation revealed more than $2 million in gambling activity by Pouncil in the past decade. Per state law, gambling earnings are taxable income. Further investigation revealed almost no income has been reported for Pouncil since 2002 and he failed to file tax returns when he had sufficient income requiring him to do so.

Feds Charge Nick’s Amusements for Laundering Gambling Proceeds

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland has charged Nick’s Amusements, a company whose amusement devices are placed in bars and other businesses in the Baltimore area, with money laundering in connection with illegal gambling. The one-count criminal information, filed in U.S. District Court on Oct. 27, states that “on or about December 15, 2006,” the company knowingly transferred $35,000 “in criminally derived property” from one Bank of America account to another, and that the proceeds were derived from “conducting an illegal gambling business.”

Inside N.M.’s greatest casino scam

It was a high stakes game of fraud and forgery, a casino heist the likes of which New Mexico had never been seen before. The victim: Sandia Casino. The take: More than $1.2 million. It was an inside job cooked up by two employees, slot machine attendant Lynn Gallo and slot supervisor Steve Roybal.  “Where $1.2 million went we have no idea,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said.

Despite security guards and surveillance cameras nobody at Sandia noticed Gallo and Roybal secretly looting the casino of thousands of dollars practically every day for more than a year in 2005 and 2006. “This particular case really shocked me from the amount of money and for how long it went on,” said Jeff Voyles, an expert in casino management who also is a gaming professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

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

Florida makes a statement against gambling with election of Mark Rubio

Casino Watch Focus reported that Rep. Mark Rubio was running for State Senate against Florida Governor Charlie Crist and that the election could represent a major impact on the national online gambling debate.  An online source explains Mark Rubio won the Senate Seat and the people of Florida clearly sent an anti-gambling message with his victory:

If Marco Rubio wants to point to a signature issue that has driven up his Conservative base in Florida, it would be his opposition to a gambling compact that was agreed upon between Governor Charlie Crist and the Seminole Indians.

The anti-gambling stance showed that Rubio is a far right Conservative with little room for compromise. Voters in the state have found that approach soothing, as Rubio has won the US Senate seat in the state. Now, Rubio will take his anti-gambling stance to Washington.

As explained earlier, this decision will clearly shape the future of online gambling as Rubio has a history of taking the issue head on. The online article continues:

“This was one of the worst possible outcomes for online gamblers in the US in this mid-term election,” said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins, “Rubio has shown that he is against gambling expansion, and if he took on the governor in Florida, he will certainly be prepared to take on pro-gambling legislators in the Senate.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/25 – 10/31

Former Georgetown, NBA player shot at Maryland home

According to a police official familiar with the case former Georgetown and NBA player Charles Smith has been seriously injured in a shooting at his Prince George’s County home. Police are still investigating a motive in the shooting, according to the police official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the information has not been publicly released. Police say a man found with a gunshot wound at the home in Bowie was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in serious condition. Spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Reedy says a search of the home Friday turned up a large quantity of cocaine and evidence of a gambling operation.

Casino Robbery Turns Foul, Victim Dies In Hospital

A young man in North Vegas has succumbed to injuries sustained in what appears to be an attempted casino robbery. Stefon Clark, 21, was arrested for robbing people in the bathroom of the Opera House Casino in North Vegas. Unfortunately, one of the proposed robberies had ended in the shooting of one particular victim. The gunshot wounds proved to be too much, and the victim, 30,  succumbed to his wounds in the hospital to which he had been taken. Clark was arrested and charged with murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon.

Yearlong Investigation Culminates In 31 Indictments Over Gambling Ring

After a year of investigation, 31 people have been indicted on charges that include money laundering, gambling, drugs, and violence related to the previous three crimes. The investigation, which began after complaints of bookmaking and loan sharking, brought 103 different indictments against the 31. This is one of many sweeps against organized crime, particularly related to gambling, in the past few months.

According to reports, individuals had been viciously attacked in order to collect gambling debts. Loans would be offered by those operating these illegal sports betting rackets, and violence was allegedly used to collect on the debt. Of the 31 indicted, those who were pinched over the illegal gambling operation could face six years imprisonment for their involvement in the illegal gaming.

Employee of the United States Postal Service Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court for Operating $10 Million Illegal Gambling Ring

From 2005 to 2009, WASHINGTON, who was then a USPS supervisor, along with several co-conspirators who worked at the USPS and other state and local government agencies, operated a “Lotto”-type gambling business (the “Lottery”) which tracked the numbers chosen for the New York State Lotto drawings and paid out on a monthly basis prizes in the range of $100,000 and more.

Nurse’s gambling addiction led to $32,000 fraud

The visits to the casino started out as fun outings for a respected nurse who needed a release from caring for patients and family members. But what began as a past-time for Shelley Henderson, turned into an addiction. And when her pay cheques were gobbled up by gambling, and she wondered how she would pay her bills, Henderson began falsifying expenses to her employer, the Kwakuitl District Council (KDC). “Every single day I have great remorse for what I did,” Henderson said as she wept while addressing the court. “I know I’ve let my family and co-workers down.”

Feds: Scammer cheated charities

Charities and non-profit organizations that benefit schoolchildren and support people with life-threatening illnesses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to a 33-year-old con artist who promised them several rounds at the Augusta National Golf Course, a walk-on role on the television show “Desperate Housewives,” and tickets to the Tony Awards, among other prizes, but never delivered, federal authorities said today.

After the winning bidders made their pledges and he received his commissions, 33-year-old Gregory Ciccone of Wayne used a variety of stall tactics and excuses to avoid ponying up — including once telling a winning bidder that the 2009 Tour de France had been postponed, they said. He allegedly used the money, in part, to feed a gambling habit.

Sports Betting Mob Leader Facing Up To 12 Years In Prison

Andrew Merola, 42, faces up to 12 years in prison when he is sentenced Friday on charges of racketeering and sports betting.  Prosecutors claim that Merola is a Mob leader and associate of the Gambino crime family who took part in a “smorgasbord of criminal activities”. Most of the 22 co-defendants in the case have already plead guilty.

Authorities claim that Merola headed a racketeering enterprise engaging in fraud, extortion, loan-sharking and sports betting.  The two-year investigation was conducted by New Jersey state police, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI and included some 39,000 plus wiretapped conversations between Merola and other associates.

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

Cape Girardeau votes yes to allowing a new casino

Casino Watch Focus reported that the election in Cape Girardeau was being almost exclusively bought and paid for by Isle of Capri Casino.  So, its no surprise that when the SE Missourian reported the casino election results, they showed a clear win for the casino and potential loss for the families in southeast Missouri.  The vote was necessary but insufficient to guarantee a casino in Cape.  The Missouri Gaming Commission must still award the proposal to the Isle of Capri.  Considering the MGC has been positioning itself to accept a Cape proposal and has even gone as far to say they might not award a license at all if they didn’t find the location that would make the state a considerable amount of money, it’s very unlikely the Commission would reject a Cape casino.  Keep checking back to find out the fate of the state and our families.

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