A Brief Look at Crime 01/24 – 01/30

Astros pitcher Carrillo arrested at Fla. Casino

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)  — Houston Astros right-hander Cesar Carrillo has been charged with trespassing after police say he was told to leave the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa. Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner says Carrillo left the casino when initially warned but came back 15 minutes later, so tribe police arrested him early Saturday. Bitner would not say what prompted the incident. The 26-year-old was released from the Hillsborough County jail hours later after paying the $500 bond. The Astros had no immediate comment on the incident.

William Cammisano Jr. and Michael Lombardo get a year in prison for sports betting operation

After William Cammisano Jr. and Michael Lombardo found out that the feds were investigating them for running an illegal sports gambling operation, both men told their bettors to talk with the feds. This came from the Star‘s coverage of the sentencing of Cammisano and Lombardo, who each received sentences of a year and a day for their roles in the $3.5 million operation. Lombardo’s attorney, Michael Yonke, told the court: “He reached out to his two bettors to say, ‘I’ve been contacted by the FBI. They’re going to contact you. Do what you have to do. Tell the truth and don’t do a bunch of time for me.'”

Kansan convicted in phony casino chip case

A 38-year-old Kansas man accused of passing more than $100,000 worth of counterfeit chips at a Missouri casino has been convicted on two federal charges. A jury in Kansas City returned the verdicts Monday against Zhe Li of Wichita, a naturalized U.S. citizen from China. Li formerly lived in the Kansas City area. Prosecutors said he presented more than 1,000 counterfeit $100 chips at the Argosy Riverside Casino in late 2008. The jury found Li guilty of evading federal reporting requirements by depositing proceeds from the scheme into checking accounts in small amounts. He was also convicted of lying about his assets in applying for food stamps for himself, his wife and two minor children.

DCSO officials seize nearly $200,000 in illegal gambling bust

Cars, cash, computers and other items were seized after officials with the Darlington County Combined Drug Unit busted an illegal organized gambling operation Saturday. Capt. Andy Locklair, spokesman for the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, said the search was conducted at a home along E. Billy Farrow Hwy in Darlington. As a result of the bust, more than $180,000 in cash was seized, along with poker tables, computers, four vehicles, poker chips and cards. 30 people received citations for unlawful gaming and betting, a misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $500.

$400,000 theft earns gambler 2 1/2 years’ jail

A woman in the grip of a gambling addiction has been jailed after feeding more than $400,000 from her brother’s business into pokie machines.  She had pleaded guilty to fraud charges, after systematically taking $452,909 from her brother’s  Paraparaumu company between 2003 and 2010.  Lawton’s lawyer Elliot Lynch said she spent all the money on pokies. “She was not supporting a lavish lifestyle. She was not driving around in flash cars. She has a serious gambling problem, and her offending was fuelled by that.”

Man who lost almost half-million gets seven-year sentence

A 25-year-old Peoria man who gambled away almost a half-million dollars of other people’s money has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a Champaign County judge. O’Neill pleaded guilty in November to financial identity theft over $10,000, admitting that between March 2007 and August 2008, he took out almost $100,000 in student loans in the name of his then-fiance and lost the money gambling. In 2009, O’Neill was convicted of theft in Peoria County for stealing from his own father during roughly the same time he was stealing using his fiance’s name. He was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to repay his father $108,981, even though he admitted owing his dad about $400,000 for gambling debts.

Reno woman gets probation in elderly exploitation case after stealing more than $330,000

Reno artist Peggy Viola Six, 64, befriended a woman 18 years ago while they were neighbors at a local trailer park. Six, who described 88-year-old Gayle Savage as a mother figure, helped her buy a home and a vehicle after Savage received a large inheritance in 2004. But once Savage developed dementia in July 2008, Six’s greed “reared it’s ugly head and she took advantage of Gayle Savage,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karl Hall. As a result, Savage is in a state-run nursing home in Carson City instead of being able to afford home health-care and own pets, he said.

In less than one year, Six and Reno real estate broker Robin Benjamin, 65, stole more than $330,000 from Savage’s bank accounts and unlawfully sold her Southeast Reno home. Six gambled more than $500 a day with Savage’s money, purchased a motor home for her personal travel, and used the rest to invest in her artistry business and other ventures suggested by Benjamin.

Woman accused of stealing $1.5 million from small firm to feed gambling habit

A longtime bookkeeper for a small Chicago machinery company embezzled more than $1.5 million from the business and gambled most of it away on high-end slot machines at Indiana casinos, Cook County authorities charged Thursday. The 41/2-year string of thefts by Julie Nowaczyk nearly forced ENR General Machining Co. into bankruptcy, said Assistant State’s Attorney Nicholas Trutenko. When the company’s owners confronted her last summer, Nowaczyk admitted the thefts and said she had spent all the money. “You don’t have the problems I have,” prosecutors quoted her as saying.

Nowaczyk lost more than $1.4 million gambling at three northwest Indiana casinos, mostly on slot machines costing $25 to $50 a pull, authorities said. The owners, brothers Richard and Eugene Szydlo, took out mortgages on their homes and put up their own savings to meet payroll and make up for 401(k) payments to employees that Nowaczyk pocketed, according to prosecutors. “They are distressed that this has really, really hurt their business,” Trutenko said. “Even with the mortgages and putting in their own money, they still might have to lay people off.”

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

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