A Brief Look at Crime 06/06 – 06/12

Fla. man gets 20 years in investment fraud

A federal judge in New Jersey scolded a Florida man for his lavish lifestyle funded by stolen millions before sentencing him Tuesday to 20 years in federal prison in an investment fraud scheme. Nevin Shapiro, once known locally for his sports philanthropy, was sentenced in a Newark courtroom after previously pleading guilty to charges related to running a multistate Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say left more than 60 investors in Florida, Indiana and New Jersey with nearly $100 million in losses. His attorney, in arguing for a lighter sentence, said Shapiro was gripped by a gambling addiction that drove him to overextend a once-legitimate business. Attorney Maria Elena Perez argued that Shapiro has cooperated with bankruptcy and government officials to try and recover as much money as possible for his victims.

 New details emerge in violent Lehigh robbery

New details are being uncovered in the case of a violent robbery that occurred at Luxxor Casino in Lehigh Acres on Friday night. Surveillance video recorded the entire incident. A 32-year-old female employee, named J.C., was locking up the business when she was forced back inside by two masked men. One of the men punches her more than 20 times, while the other man stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

Now, Luxxor owner Carrye Decker says she knows who is responsible for setting up the robbery but she doesn’t want to say who. “There’s something more to that than just a robbery,” she says. The fact that the men knew exactly where the cash was stored leads Decker to believe it was an inside job. “That’s sick. Come take my money, grab my money, leave her alone. It was completely unnecessary,” Decker says. Friends of the victim say she is a good soul and didn’t deserve what happened.

Boulder businessman Austin Veith faces charges in alleged $450,000 scam

A Boulder man has been arrested in New York and brought back to Colorado to face felony charges of defrauding investors out of nearly half a million dollars — money that prosecutors say was spent at restaurants, ski resorts and casinos. An arrest affidavit released Friday details allegations that Austin Slattery Veith, 32, raised millions of dollars over the last couple of years to fund Internet start-ups — with the founders of online luggage giant eBags among his biggest investors — and diverted about $450,000 to his personal accounts. Prosecutors also cite bank records that show Veith wiring nearly $85,000 of investor funds to various Las Vegas casinos to feed an extensive gambling habit. 

 FIFA investigating Nigeria win over Argentina

Argentina’s 4-1 friendly defeat to Nigeria is being investigated for possible match-fixing, by far the highest-profile game to come under the microscope so far, soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Saturday.  “FIFA can confirm that this match between Nigeria and Argentina was one that we had an active interest in, and forms part of a wider ongoing FIFA investigation,” said FIFA in a statement. Manipulation of matches by gambling rings has become a major concern for world soccer’s governing body FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA and both monitor thousands of matches for unusual betting patterns.  Last month, FIFA set up a partnership with Interpol and announced it would donate 20 million euros over the next 10 years to fight the problem.

 US Levies More Charges Against Online Betting Sites

The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against the principals of a series of online sports betting sites on May 23. The defendants, Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk of British Columbia and Ann Marie Puig of San Jose, Costa Rica, were charged with conducting an illegal gambling business and money laundering in violation of the laws of the State of Maryland. Homeland Security Investigations opened an undercover payment processor business (“Linwood Payment Solutions”), which collected funds and distributed winnings to/from the defendant websites and transferred those funds to offshore foreign banks.  The undercover payment processor processed over 300,000 gambling transactions worth more than US$30 million for the defendants between December 2009 and January 2011.

Mob on track to win: With OTB gone, bookies are riding high with Belmont Stakes on the horizon

Looking for a sure thing at Saturday’s 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes? Bet on organized crime and illegal bookies to win, place and show a bigger profit at the first Belmont since Off Track Betting shuttered its 54 New York City betting parlors in December. “Where there is money to be made, the mob is most certainly there,” one veteran Bonanno family soldier said of the chance to cash in on the Triple Crown race. “They were taking bets when OTB was operating,” he continued. “And I’d bet — no pun intended — that they have been taking bets on this race for weeks now.” There’s a lot of money to be made: NYC OTB handled nearly $2.4 million in Belmont bets last year — a lucrative one-day windfall. A good portion of those wagers will wind up as illegal action. Gamblers “are going to go with a bookmaker, sure,” said Arnie Wexler, former head of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling. “Not all these people are going to run to the track.” A city rackets prosecutor agreed: “This has got to increase business for organized crime-controlled horse parlors.”

AG wants Youngwood bar owner’s assets seized

The state Attorney General’s Office wants to seize $1.68 million in alleged gambling proceeds confiscated from the owner of a Youngwood pub and his family. Attorney General Linda L. Kelly filed a petition on Friday asking a Westmoreland judge to approve the forfeiture of cash seized during a series of raids Feb. 11-15 at Delaney’s Pub at 301 S. Third St.; the residence of its owner, John Caccamese, 61, of Hempfield; and several safety deposit boxes he owns. Caccamese told state police that his gambling operation was taking in about $30,000 a week on numbers betting and about $10,000 a week in sports betting, according to the petition.

 Employee accused of embezzlement from Blood Center

Officials at the Community Blood Center, which supplies blood to hospitals — including Ripon Medical Center and Calumet Medical Center — are reviewing its systems, policies and practices to prevent future embezzlement, Rick Hart, president and CEO of the center, said Wednesday. Tina M. Jacobsen, 49, of Neenah, was charged in Outagamie County Court with five felony counts of theft, two misdemeanor theft counts and a felony charge of fraudulent writings in what police say were two schemes that netted her at least $470,000 during the past five years. The thefts occurred between January 2006 and April of this year when Jacobsen was fired, and at least some of the money may have been used for gambling, the complaint says.

Casino Fined $26,000 by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Permitting Underage Gambling

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today levied a $26,000 fine against Harrah’s Chester Downs and Marina, LLC, operator of Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack, for allowing an underage patron to gamble at their facility. The fine was the result of a consent agreement between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and the Delaware County casino, and was imposed for a violation of sections of the Gaming Act that prohibit individuals under the age of 21 to gain access to the gaming floor and gamble.

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

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