A Brief Look at Crime 02/7 – 02/13

Suspect in fatal Quincy shooting turns himself in to authorities

The suspect in Sunday’s fatal shooting in Quincy turned himself in early Friday morning at the Gadsden County Jail.  James Wyatt McGriff, 35, surrendered about 1 a.m., said Lt. Larry Gilyard of the Quincy Police Department. He was arrested on charges of homicide and illegal possession of a firearm.  He’d been wanted since after the shooting, which happened in the back yard of a residence in the 500 block of Lincoln Street. Gilyard said McGriff got into an argument with Othis Harley, 42, who died after being shot once. The two had been gambling just before the argument occurred, Gilyard said.

Alabama casino lobbyist outlines bribe offer

An imprisoned former gambling lobbyist said Monday he made cash payments for years to one Alabama state lawmaker and offered a $1 million bribe to another, testifying in his first court appearance Monday since pleading guilty in a government corruption probe. Former Country Crossing lobbyist Jarrod Massey spoke at a bond revocation hearing for Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley, one of about a dozen people snared in the investigation. A judge did not immediately rule whether Gilley could remain free.

Massey, wearing a yellow prison outfit, handcuffs and leg chains, said he paid $1,000 to $2,000 in cash monthly to former state Rep. Terry Spicer, D-Elba, for six or seven years in return for him helping Massey get lobbying clients, including Gilley, while Spicer was serving in the Legislature. Massey said he also gave Spicer $9,000 to buy a boat.

Former Ely official pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former three-term city councilman in a rural northern Nevada town has pleaded guilty in Las Vegas federal court to embezzling at least $3.7 million from a bank where he once worked. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said 43-year-old Stephen Marich of Ely, Nev. entered his plea Monday before U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson. Marich was vice president of the First National Bank of Ely. He stole the money over about 10 years and used some of it to make transfers to offshore online gambling enterprises. Marich resigned from his post on the Ely City Council in January 2010 during the investigation.

Reno woman sentenced for exploiting her elderly mother

A 60-year-old unemployed Reno woman who said she wanted to financially “ride her mother to death” was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for exploiting more than $202,000 from the elderly, widowed woman. Flanagan ordered she indeed pay restitution of $202,609.87 on top of her 10-year prison term, and have no contact with her 83-year-old mother. Vargas will be eligible for parole after serving more than four years in prison. She used her mother’s money to fund her gambling problem and to pay bills, police said.

Gambling at root of Grand Rapids bank embezzlement

A Grand Rapids-area woman says gambling led her to embezzle about $600,000 from Huntington Bank. Jo Anne Wierenga pleaded guilty Monday in federal court. She told a judge that gambling caused her to steal money for seven years at a Huntington branch in Grand Rapids. Authorities say Wierenga took money from customer accounts and the vault. She remains free on bond but must stay away from casinos and attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Wierenga will receive her sentence on May 9.

Port St. Lucie man charged with fraud after depositing $110,050 into 3 SunTrust accounts

Investigators charged a Port St. Lucie man with committing a scam involving a couple of banks, three people from Minnesota and more than $110,000. Dale Richard Prescott, 51, of the 100 block of Southwest Christmas Avenue, was charged with organized fraud of more than $50,000. Authorities in Minnesota also made three arrests in the case.

Between September and November, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said Prescott deposited checks totaling $110,050 into three SunTrust checking accounts registered to three Minnesota residents. Prescott did not have the money in his accounts at other banks to cover the checks, but the three Minnesotans would withdraw the money before the checks cleared, the Sheriff’s Office said. Bank records showed some of the withdrawals were made at casinos, detectives said.

Two persons arrested for abetting suicide of youth

Two persons were today arrested on charges of abetting suicide of a man in Sahibabad area near here. The accused identified as Kuldeep and Devender allegedly drove Sanjay, who owed them Rs 1,500 after losing in a gambling game, to commit suicide. Sanjay later committed suicide on Februray 4 at his residence in Sahibabad.  Sanjay”s maternal uncle Mahender had earlier lodged an FIR alleging that the accused had looted money from the victim. The police, however, has booked the duo on charges of abetting suicide.

Man Dies After Rooster Attack During Illegal Gambling Bust

Illegal cock fighting rings pop up all over the US, but rarely do any of them lead to a death of a human being. This week, a man in California was killed after being attacked by a rooster. Luis Ochoa was one of the men that was attempting to flee the scene after authorities raided an illegal gambling cock fighting operation. Ochoa was attacked by a rooster during the flee attempt, and the animal sliced Ochoa’s calf. Ochoa, according to reports, was trying to catch the rooster when a razor blade attached to the roosters leg sliced an artery in Ochoa’s leg. Tulare County Sheriff’s Sgt. Martin King called the incident an “unfortunate accident.”

PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker at Center Stage of $275 Million Scam

A Utah man has been implicated in a $275 million scam victimizing customers through the world’s two largest online poker rooms, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.  The parent company of Full Tilt, Tiltware LLC, has been cooperating with authorities.

Jeremy Johnson, a local philanthropist, is alleged to have gambled away victims money by playing Internet poker even after being ordered by the FTC to preserve assets.  Johnson and his company is believed to have lured customers into obtaining trial memberships for sham services and then repeatedly charging their credit and debit cards monthly fees for the worthless services.

In addition to the online poker rooms, Johnson is believed to have gambled a portion of the monies away at Wynn Las Vegas, The MGM Grand and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Johnson said he was addicted to gambling but has curtailed his gambling.  In a deposition, Johnson claimed he did not consider playing poker to be gambling.

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

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