A Brief Look at Crime 05/16– 05/22

Drifter gets life for fatally stabbing woman

A drifter has been sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing a South Florida woman during a burglary. A Miami-Dade judge sentenced 35-year-old Reynerio Alonso Rivero on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to murder. Alonso Rivero admitted to authorities that he broke into the home of Percy and Elizabeth Palomino on April 17. He was looking for money so he could play poker at Miami’s Magic City casino. He had worked at the couple’s banquet hall many times over the years. Alonso Rivero told police that he attacked Elizabeth Palomino when she returned home unexpectedly. He stabbed her in the neck several times and then twice in the back.

 Ex-NBA star sues Las Vegas resort over ‘beatdown’

LAS VEGAS (AP)  — Charles Oakley, one of the NBA’s all-time tough guys and now a Charlotte Bobcats assistant, has sued a Las Vegas resort over what he calls a May 2010 “gang-style beatdown” by security guards that injured him. The suit says Oakley was an invited guest at Aria’s VIP pool area when he left the area, but was prevented from re-entering it by security officers and staff. The suit claims Oakley was taken to the hospital after the officers wrestled him to the ground, and punched and handcuffed him.

 Conn. man who ran $100M Ponzi scheme gets prison

A man who tricked hundreds of investors into giving him more than $100 million on a promise of fat profits on diamonds and distressed properties was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison. Michael Goldberg, 40, of Wethersfield, was also ordered by a federal judge in Hartford to pay at least $500 a month in restitution after he’s released, based on what he can afford, and to undergo substance abuse and mental health evaluations and treatment. He remains free on bail and must report to prison July 18. A man who tricked hundreds of investors into giving him more than $100 million on a promise of fat profits on diamonds and distressed properties was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison. Michael Goldberg, 40, of Wethersfield, was also ordered by a federal judge in Hartford to pay at least $500 a month in restitution after he’s released, based on what he can afford, and to undergo substance abuse and mental health evaluations and treatment. He remains free on bail and must report to prison July 18.

Butte woman pleads guilty to embezzling from union

A 57-year-old Butte woman has pleaded guilty to taking about $200,000 from a labor union to feed a gambling habit. The Montana Standard reports Teresa Wilson pleaded guilty in federal court in Missoula Monday to labor union embezzlement, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors allege she took between $171,000 and $219,000 over six years from the Butte Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 41 and the Central Labor Council, which promotes organized labor throughout southwestern Montana.

Caregiver gets prison sentence for $391,000 theft

A 55-year-old former caregiver will spend 10 to 13 years in prison for stealing $391,000 from an elderly man who entrusted her with his care and some of his finances. Susan Willis, who lived in Davis in Carteret County, cared for John A. “Ecky” Meadows at his New Bern home for about three years. Meadows, in his 90s, had both of his legs amputated and was a retired Navy commander. Willis, according to her lawyer Tom Kellis, earned a nursing degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Kellis told the court that his client had health problems and her husband had a gambling problem. She had no prior criminal record. “She loved and betrayed Mr. Meadows. Mr. Meadows loved her as family,” Kellis told the court.

New Fraud Claim Against Missing Bank of America Employee

A former Bank of America employee in Hawaii who allegedly stole more than $1 million from the bank’s mortgage loan customers has been accused of fraud in a state court lawsuit. The Bank of America said in a written statement in January that it had fired Kim and reported “possible embezzlement of customer-paid escrow funds” to the FBI. Kim allegedly never deposited the money in escrow but cashed the checks and used the proceeds to pay pressing gambling debts.

‘America’s Most Wanted’ suspect arrested at Las Vegas Strip casino

An “America’s Most Wanted” suspect accused of raping and “pimping” two New Jersey teenagers was arrested at a Strip casino Thursday. Las Vegas police said Jason L. Brown, 31, was wanted for allegedly violently assaulting two young women in Atlantic City and forcing them into prostitution. Police arrested Brown playing poker about 3 a.m. Thursday at Aria. According to the Fox television show, Brown was a compulsive gambler, and police had suspected he fled to Las Vegas. The assault allegedly happened in January. Brown was featured on the show in February.

Bartlett lawyer begins 10-year prison sentence for embezzling $170,000 from clients

A disbarred Bartlett lawyer who admitted stealing more than $170,000 from two trust funds for six orphaned children was denied probation Thursday and began serving a 10-year prison sentence.  James Hoots, who also admitted stealing some $800,000 from his own father’s account, asked for leniency from Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward, but said he had no job prospects to earn money for restitution if placed on probation. Under the law, the families can file a civil petition to seek recovery of the $170,956 Hoots admitted stealing to finance what he called a gambling addiction. “I was in denial that I had a problem, but obviously I did,” said Hoots, adding that he spent the money at Tunica casinos. “For whatever reason, I could not stop. I was somehow able to justify it to myself.

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

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