A Brief Look at Crime 12/20 – 12/26

Lobbyist pleads guilty in Alabama gambling probe

The lobbyist for a shuttered Alabama casino has admitted his firm offered millions to legislators in exchange for support for pro-gambling legislation. Jarrod Massey pleaded guilty Monday in the corruption probe that has resulted in charges against a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists and casino developers. His assistant previously pleaded guilty. Massey’s plea agreement says he offered a state senator $1 million for a favorable vote, and he authorized his assistant to tell the lawmaker as much as $2 million of Gilley’s money was available.

Man sentenced in shooting of Ind. postal carrier

A federal judge ordered the sentence Monday for 44-year-old Brook Abebe for the July 2009 robbery at a Chase Bank branch on the city’s southeast side.  Postal carrier Robert Norman of Franklin came into the bank during the robbery and then went out the front door after Abebe fled through the back. Authorities say they collided outside and that Abebe shot Norman during a struggle. The Daily Journal reports Abebe apologized in court, saying that gambling and alcohol problems led him to commit the robbery.

Ex-RI official gets 46 months on drug charges due to gambling addiction

A former Providence highway superintendent who once served prison time for extortion has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison on federal drug charges. Edward “Buckles” Melise of Johnston was also sentenced on Monday to three years of probation and ordered to undergo gambling addiction counseling. The 60-year-old Melise pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiracy to distribute hundreds of prescription painkiller oxycodone pills.

Sarno, co-defendants found guilty in racketeering trial

Reputed mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno smiled warmly Wednesday afternoon as jurors filed into the courtroom bearing the verdict in his racketeering trial. But his grin melted quickly as U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman began ticking off their decisions, a string of guilty verdicts against Sarno and his four co-defendants.

Jurors needed a little more than two days to reach their verdict, finding Sarno and his four co-defendants guilty on each of a total of 15 counts. During the five-week trial, prosecutors outlined how the Sarno crew ran a lucrative — and illegal — video poker racket, pulled off a string of armed robberies that spanned three years and four states, and protected their gambling franchise by planting a bomb in front of a Berwyn business that encroached on their turf.

Union embezzler sentenced to 3 years’ probation

A former high-ranking official with a public employees union in Milwaukee has been sentenced to three years’ probation for embezzling $180,000 in union funds.  Paula Dorsey, former president of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa to repay the amount she embezzled, according to federal court records.

Dorsey denied wrongdoing when first contacted by the bank, according to the plea agreement, but a few days later, she admitted to the union’s executive director that she had used the funds to finance her gambling, mostly at Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee. Soon after, she presented herself to the U.S. attorney’s office.

3rd man in BetOnSports case gets probation

The sentence for a third man involved in the international online betting firm BetOnSports leaves just one figure in the case unresolved. Norman Steinberg pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Thursday in St. Louis. He was sentenced to probation and fined $10,000. Previously, BetOnSports founder Gary Kaplan was sentenced to three years in prison and agreed to forfeit nearly $44 million. And CEO David Carruthers was sentenced to nearly three years in prison.  BetOnSports was an offshore sports wagering business based in Costa Rica. Carruthers admitted in his guilty plea that the company falsely portrayed Web-based gambling as legal and caused customers to lose millions of dollars.

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