A Brief Look at Crime 02/14 – 02/20

Deaf charity hit by fraud

Leanne French was once respected for her work with the charitable Hearing Association, raising money to help deaf people. Now, the stylishly-dressed bookkeeper has admitted stealing $282,000 while working for the charity in Auckland, to fund a secret gambling habit. As she broke down in tears, a judge was told she had put the hearing of a generation of young New Zealanders at risk. Through a bank error French had become the sole signatory for Hearing Association cheques, and had forged 143 cheques to place in accounts in her own name. She had also forged independent annual audits, using a false name. Reading a victim impact statement, Hearing Association board member Stewart Keen told French her victims included a “whole generation of people” not exposed to messages that could prevent hearing loss.

Ex-NFL quarterback Schlichter charged in $1M theft

Former Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter, whose NFL career was derailed by a gambling addiction, was charged Monday with stealing more than $1 million from a 68-year-old woman in suburban Columbus. He took the money in cash, checks and credit card charges, according to the charge, which could also involve higher penalties because the woman is considered elderly under Ohio law. More charges are also likely against Schlichter, probably in federal court, his attorney said Monday without offering details. Schlichter, who played for Ohio State between 1978 and 1981, spent 10 years in prison for gambling-related crimes. He played for the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills, and the Detroit and Cincinnati Arena League teams. The NFL has suspended him for life.

Magazine Publisher Charged With Internet Gambling Money Laundering, Fraud

Magazine publisher Don Hellinger has been charged – along with six others – with illegally distributed over $40 million in Internet gambling winnings during the years 2005 and 2006 through a money transfer company, Payment Processing, Inc. The investigation was handled by the United States Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. Hellinger’s company is also alleged to have run a telemarketing scam during that time period. Hellinger and his associates could face up to 91 years in prison if convicted of all crimes. His company publishes Nylon, Inked, Surface and Tokion Magazines. 

$140,000 rip-off by restaurant manager

A restaurant manager created an elaborate scheme so he could steal nearly $140,000 from his employer to feed his gambling addiction. Vijay Singh, 30, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday to 21 months behind bars after earlier pleading guilty to one representative charge of theft. In early 2008, Singh was working as a maitre d’ at the Tauranga Lone Star Restaurant and in April that year was promoted to manager.

Police: York County couple embezzled from school board association

A northern York County couple is awaiting arraignment in county court for allegedly embezzling $66,000 from the Pennsylvania School Board Association last year. According to Fairview Township Police, Stacie L. Carmines, 41, who worked for the school board association for more than 10 years, and her husband, David N. Carmines, 39, took the money between August and November 2010. Investigators determined Stacie Carmines created an account payable provider in the association’s database in her husband’s name. Using that provider, Stacie Carmines generated “numerous business checks for thousands of dollars on a regular basis,” according to the couple’s arrest affidavits. Stacie Carmines told police they cashed the checks and used the money to gamble, according to court documents.

CNBC Pundit Brian Kim Suspected in $4 Mill Ponzi Scheme

New York authorities have yet to catch up with CNBC analyst and New York hedge-fund operator, Brian Kim, who is reportedly at the center of a $4 million Ponzi scheme, and apparently laying low. The 35-year-old was indicted on grand larceny and other charges for an alleged fraudulent plan that began eight years ago, in which he swindled at least 45 West Coast investors out money from his Manhattan offices, reports the New York Daily News Kim allegedly used the money to pay for extravagant shopping sprees, ski vacations, credit card bills, gambling trips to Atlantic City and car payments, officials said. If convicted, Kim faces up to 25 years in prison.

Smyrna man gets 15 year in investment scam

A Smyrna man is sentenced to 15 years in prison for defrauding investors in an investment scam. The state Attorney General’s office says 40-year-old Thomas Dolby solicited funds that he claimed would be invested in a real estate development project in Turkey. A Delaware investor complained to the Attorney General’s office, and an eight-month investigation revealed a sophisticated scheme where Dolby collected $419,000 from seven investors in two states. The funds weren’t invested, but were used by Dolby for personal expenses and to fund a gambling addiction. Records showed that from July, 2008 through July, 2009, Dolby wagered more than $950,000 in bets in two Delaware casinos.

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

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