A Brief Look at Crime 03/07– 03/13

Man leaps to his death from casino on Las Vegas Strip

A man committed suicide on Friday by leaping off a ledge at the newly-built Cosmopolitan hotel and casino onto the famed Las Vegas Strip, police said. Witness accounts place the man on a ledge at either the 6th floor or the 14th floor of the Cosmopolitan, the newest hotel and casino to open on the Strip, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Marcus Martin said. The hotel, which opened to much publicity on December 15, has 50 floors and nearly 3,000 rooms. Marcus said police received calls that a man, who was not identified, was threatening to jump from the Cosmopolitan at about 4:45 a.m., Martin said.  Officers arrived shortly thereafter and tried to negotiate with the man, but he didn’t respond and at 6:26 a.m. jumped to his death.

Mark King: I was thinking about a robbery to get money to gamble

The low points were fast mounting up for snooker player Mark King as he battled a crippling addiction to gambling. To huge debts could be added a marriage under severe strain and a promising career in danger of going into a tailspin.  As he bottomed out in the quest for stake money to put on the next dog, horse  or card, King admits: “I found myself in a situation where I was even  thinking about doing a robbery to get money to gamble. That is just not me,  not who I am. I was considering quick fixes, stealing and stuff like that. I  don’t think it was even the debt at the time, it was just so I would have  something in my hand to bet with. I half-thought about the robbery, and  asked someone else to be involved. But in the end I couldn’t go through with  it. Looking back, it makes me feel physically sick.”

Ex-Vt. worker admits getting state to write checks to herself in $490,000 embezzlement

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A former state Department for Children and Families supervisor with a gambling addiction pleaded guilty Friday for her role in a $490,000 embezzlement scheme in which she got the state to issue more than 250 checks that she and her sister then cashed, keeping the proceeds. Her sister, Deborah Tuller, pleaded guilty previously and was sentenced to 13 months in prison. Lantagne told U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss during the plea hearing that she is being treated for a gambling addiction. She didn’t elaborate.

Gambling debt linked to murder-suicide

The Richmond man behind a high-profile murder-suicide in a local hotel room last January was saddled with a massive gambling debt incurred at River Rock Casino Resort, The Richmond Review has learned. A source told Black Press that the man had withdrawn some $200,000 from his line of credit, and lost it all at the local casino before reserving a room at the Hampton Inn on Jan. 7. An independent source familiar with the police investigation confirmed the details. The 55-year-old man took a sharp instrument and killed the 50-year-old Richmond woman with whom he shared the hotel room before turning the weapon on himself.

Dozens jailed following Michigan dog fighting raid

More than 20 people from Michigan, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio have been jailed following a weekend raid on an alleged Monroe County dog fighting operation. The Monroe Evening News and the Detroit Free Press reported two of the nine dogs confiscated from a Raisinville Township house during the raid have died. Federal and local law enforcement officials took more than two dozen people into custody in what police describe as one of the largest dog fighting operations in the county’s history. The suspects were expected to be arraigned today on dog fighting charges, which carry a maximum penalty of four years in prison. The U.S. agriculture department is investigating, and local police are assisting. Monroe County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Heath Velliquette described the scene as a brutal, bloody one.

Former Ohio State Star Art Schlichter Blames Addiction for Troubles

I’m embarrassed that I have hurt anyone, and I would give anything to make it right,” Schlichter told The Dispatch from the Franklin County jail in an exclusive interview. Schlichter is currently being held without bond on a first-degree felony charge of theft whereby he is alleged to have swindled a Dublin, Ohio widow out of more than $1million to fuel his gambling habit.  He is likely to face additional charges, with 20 other potential victims identified.  Nine of those individuals have filed police reports, according to the Dispatch. “I want to make amends to the people that I have harmed in some way. I wanted to reach out and apologize to people before I came (to jail), but I was advised not to contact them. That was the hardest part for me.”

Deputies raid Ventura county cockfighting arena, find dead animals and euthanize aggressive gamecocks

Authorities in Ventura County were searching Monday for suspects who escaped after deputies raided a blood-splattered cockfighting arena where dozens of animals were being exploited in violent contests. Deputies found 16 dead animals strewn near two rings  stained with blood Sunday and had to euthanize other aggressive gamecocks that were being stored  in cardboard boxes at the Filmore compound, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said.

A number of the dead animals had blades affixed to their legs. In all, more than 80 gamecocks were found at the site. The deputies had responded after receiving a tip that a cockfighting event was taking place, the department said. People at the event fled as deputies swooped down on the site, in the 1700 block of Grimes Canyon Road. Deputies seized evidence, including fighting blades, gambling records and a scale used to weigh the animals.

Ex-auditor admits to fraud

For nearly five years, Minnesota taxpayers covered Pamela Marie Dellis’ gambling debts, sent her sister to the casino and helped her niece pay some bills. Of course, taxpayers didn’t know about it and it was all illegal. On Monday in federal district court in Minneapolis, Dellis, her sister Nancy T. Sondrall and her niece, Laurie R. Sondrall, came clean. They admitted to a scheme that defrauded the state Department of Revenue — and taxpayers — out of nearly $2 million. Dellis, a former auditor with the revenue department whose job involved issuing refund checks and direct deposits to worthy taxpayers, diverted money to her sister and niece that the three then divided up for their own uses. The scheme lasted from January 2005 to Sept. 17, 2010. Her motive: “I do have a gambling addiction,” Dellis told U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen.

Bandits seize $200,000 from Puerto Rico casino

Masked gunmen raided a waterfront resort casino early Wednesday, forced gamblers to the floor and fled with more than $200,000, leaving a trail of bills fluttering along the beach, police said. The attack was similar to a robbery at another casino last year, also in the northern coastal town of Rio Grande, and police said they are investigating possible links. Holding handguns, they ordered a handful of tourists and employees to the ground and demanded to speak to the person with keys to the vault, Lopez said. The main suspect in that heist was fatally shot in front of his house in Rio Grande in February, he said.

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

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