A Brief Look at Crime 04/11– 04/17

Tight courtroom security for men accused of gambling-related beating death

HONOLULU – Four men accused of a deadly beating stemming from a dispute at an illegal gambling establishment in Chinatown made their initial appearances at Honolulu District Court Monday. The homicide has had a few twists and turns. The suspects originally told police they found their friend beaten at Moanalua Community Park and drove him to the hospital.

But investigators say that was all a lie, and that the suspects eventually confessed to repeatedly punching and kicking the victim at 925-C Maunakea Street in Chinatown.  Maauga Imoa, 24, Manu Tonga, 21, and Sione Vulangi, 26, entered District Judge Leslie Hayashi’s packed courtroom with seven state deputy sheriffs providing security. Hearing their family members sobbing in the gallery seemed to emotionally affect the men charged with murder.

 Man loses wife in gambling

A man in Greater Noida’s Dadri region lost his 24-year-old wife to a fellow gambler. Despite being chased by the husband and his friends, the woman, Rajkali, somehow managed to escape. The police, after initial reluctance, have registered a case. The accused are at large. The police said after having lost his cellphone and R6,000, Kushalpal alias Lala used Rajkali as a stake in gambling and lost that game too.

At that time, the woman, mother of a three-month-old baby, was at her parents’ house in village Khatana in Jarcha kotwali and it saved her “from being handed over.” However, villagers said Lala, who hails from Panchguia in Bulandshahr, had lost two of his earlier wives in gambling too. He is also alleged to have been jailed on charges of murder. “He would beat me up every now and then,” said Rajkali, daughter of Sohanlal, who married Lala, a driver and habitual gambler, five years ago.

 Ex-CA bank manager pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former Central California bank manager has pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars to feed a gambling habit. Former bank manager Jeri Sell entered her plea Tuesday to one count of embezzlement. The 56-year-old woman was the manager of a Citizens Business Bank branch in Tulare until last September. Sell was charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with taking $679,000 from five bank customers’ accounts to pay for gambling.

Man gambles with child’s life

A 25-YEAR-OLD man who left his five-year-old son in a car for about two and a half hours has faced court.  The man pleaded guilty at Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday to lawful care or charge of a child under 12 years. The court was told staff from a local store contacted the police about 2.25pm after seeing the child in the car.  The court heard the man got a jackpot of $1200, hit collect, looked at the clock, which read 2.40pm, and immediately left. Proceedings revealed the man told police he had lowered the windows and was going to go back to the child in 20 minutes.  The court was told police believed the child was unattended in the car for about two and a half hours. The man’s defense solicitor Stacey O’Gorman said her client had a gambling problem.

Friend of man found dead in his car speaks out

A LONG-term friend of a man found dead in his car in Croxley Green has spoken of his grief.  Jan Podgorski, 46, was discovered by a member of the public in his silver Toyota Yaris in All Saints Lane at about 9am on Sunday, March 27.  Pal Keith Joseph, who lives in Chorleywood, told the Gazette: “Jan and I have known each other for more than 20 years, and I was the reason he was in this area. We both worked in the casino industry, in places including Yorkshire and Russia.  “He was quite depressed and a very sombre individual – he had gambling problems and he divorced his ex-wife, who is now living in Malta, about eight years ago. I tried to help him and I lent him some money to set up his own place, but he became isolated. I think he just reached the end of his tether and his death is a real tragedy.”

Woman allegedly stole $400,000 from tribes

A former cashier at the Tulalip Tribes’ liquor store and smoke shop is accused of embezzling about $400,000.  Angela Jones Ver Hoeven reportedly told investigators in August that she has a “pill problem” and stole up to $800 a day from the shop, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Investigators also uncovered that Ver Hoeven has lost about $37,000 at the tribal-owned Quil Ceda Creek Casino since the fall of 2009. Ver Hoeven, a tribal member, was arrested Thursday. She is charged with theft from a tribal organization. She is accused of underreporting her sales at the drive-thru window and pocketing the money. Investigators believe the embezzlement began as early as 2008. A review of her casino account indicated that since September 2009 Ver Hoeven put more than $732,000 into the gaming machines, which included money she deposited and money she had won and used to bet again. Her net loss was about $37,000 in 13 months.

Aventura police are investigating theft of more than $500,000 

Aventura police are investigating allegations that a former manager of an Aventura luxury condo embezzled more than $500,000 from the condominium association. The case began in February 2010 when the condominium association’s auditor alerted the condo board of “suspicious activity on the business account,’’ the report said. The association hired an attorney, Perry Adair of the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, to handle the matter. In early February, Adair and the condo board members confronted Rodriguez.  She confessed and resigned, Green said. “She said she was very sorry, very embarrassed and wanted to make it up to us,” Green said. Two weeks later, on Feb. 22, Rodriguez e-mailed residents, apologizing and blaming her actions on a gambling addiction.

 Police find $10 million buried in South Korean field

South Korean police say they’ve arrested a farmer for allegedly hiding about $10 million in cash in a garlic field. Police say his relatives made the money by running an illegal Internet gambling site. Police said Tuesday they’ve confiscated the money the farmer buried in his field in Gimje, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Seoul. Police say the farmer, surnamed Lee, was arrested Monday. They say Lee’s two brothers-in-law – one in prison and the other on the run – had asked him to hide the money.

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