Monthly Archives: July 2011

UPDATE: Washington DC Online Gambling to be delayed

Casino Watch Focus reported  that while many states were evaluating and pushing the idea of online gambling in there specific jurisdictions, Washington DC was the first to pass a bill and select a date to go live.  Their push to legalize didn’t come with out outspoken opposition and controversy.  Now, an online source is reporting that the DC Lottery is planning to delay the launch to allow for citizens’ input:

Opponents of a new online casino site in Washington D.C. were pleased on Monday when the D.C. Lottery announced that it would be delaying the launch of the online casino. The delay, according to city council members, is for time to gain public input on the controversial issue.

“It could be October, it could be November, it could be next year,” said council member Jack Evans, in response to when the online casino will finally be launched. Other council members believed that later this year was the more probable date for the start of regulated online gambling in the city.

The DC Lottery is planning to hold a series of forums for people on both side of the issue to voice their opinion and learn about the proposed online site.  Its unclear if they are simply stalling in hopes of a Federal online gambling bill to pass, or if they are actually wanting to gather feedback from the people.

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

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A Brief Look at Crime 07/11 – 07/17

Woman followed home from LA casino job stabbed, in serious condition

An employee at Commerce Casino near downtown Los Angeles was reportedly followed home early Tuesday morning. KTLA is reporting that the 56-year-old woman was approched near the 10800 block of Via Jacara in Stanton, Calif. A single man asked for driving directions. The man then asked for money. He then grabbed her, and hit her, and stabbed her in her stomach. He also stole her purse. The woman was transported to the hospital; she is in serious condition according to reports. The Orange County Sheriff’s department is trying to confirm that the woman was followed home after her shift at Commerce Casino.

Dante DeMiro gets 10 years in prison for fraud involving Mona Shores Public Schools

Admitted Ponzi crook Dante DeMiro, who stole $3.7 million from Mona Shores Public Schools, was sentenced to 10 years in prison today. DeMiro, who admitted to defrauding five victims of more than $7 million, also was ordered to pay $12.9 million in restitution to a long list of victims beyond the five named in the criminal case against DeMiro. Mona Shores was ordered to receive $3.7 million, according to a spokesman for U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, who said there are “many, many victims.” Mona Shores in 2009 sent $3.7 million in voter-approved bond proceeds to DeMiro, an independent financial adviser, who was supposed to use the money to buy certificates of deposit from multiple banks. However,  DeMiro admitted he used that money to pay off other investors and for his personal use that included gambling.

 Nixa man shot to death with hunting rifle

A southwest Missouri man has been charged with killing his neighbor in January in a fight over an unpaid debt. Twenty-7-year-old Robert Bair Jr. faces one count of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 51-year-old Rex Hicks. Bair also was charged Friday in Christian County with felony counts of assault and armed criminal action. No attorney is listed for Bair in online court records. The Springfield News-Leader reported that Hicks and his girlfriend had loaned Bair and his wife $180. Hicks and his girlfriend became upset after learning that Bair and his wife were going gambling even though they hadn’t repaid the money. The women allegedly fought, and Bair told investigators he felt threatened when Hicks approached his home.

Herculaneum woman sentenced in embezzlement case

Lisa Rae Price, 43, of Herculaneum, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzling more than $168,000 from her employer. Price was employed by Paradise Fiberglass Pools Inc., located in Swansea, Ill., and later Imperial. Her job included office work and involved conducting much of the business of the company. Price embezzled more than $168,000 by using her company ATM card to withdraw cash from company bank accounts for her personal use, between January 2005 and July 2010, according to the United States Attorney’s Office. “She used the stolen money for gambling at regional casinos, purchasing personal items and paying personal bills,” according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Michigan Mops Up Massive Illegal Video Poker Ring

Michigan law enforcement officials have brought the total number of arrests to 37 in an ongoing action against a video poker operation run in bars and taverns in Flint and nearby towns. Attorney General Bill Schuette said on July 6 that his office had filed 15 criminal charges against the two alleged ringleaders of the criminal group. Another 35 defendants had been charged earlier. Investigations are still underway by the Michigan’s State Police, Gaming Control Board and attorney general. While no indictments have been issued yet, a news release from the attorney general’s office alleges that one defendant expanded his operating company’s activities to include the sale and distribution of illegal video poker machines to Flint-area bars from January 2007 to November 2007. In addition to selling the video poker machines, this operator instructed bar owners on how to run an illegal gambling operation, Schuette claimed.

Local woman cops to embezzlement charge

Pamela J. Whitson, 59, of Norman, pleaded guilty in U.S. district court Friday to forging a check and failing to file a federal income tax return, in connection with her embezzlement of more than $960,000 from an Oklahoma City oil and gas company, according to a news release from Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. From 2002 through 2008, she forged the signatures of authorized signers on checks drawn on the oil and gas company’s accounts. Whitson admitted she wrote many of the forged checks payable to herself or to cash, and used the embezzled funds mostly for gambling.

60 Roosters Seized In Cockfighting Investigation

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and San Antonio Animal Care Services have busted what they’re calling a cockfighting operation. Deputies discovered the illegal gambling Sunday morning on a property located in the 15900 block of Henze Road on the city’s Southeast side. A total of 60 roosters were seized by Animal Care Services and the Sheriff’s Office, said Lisa Norwood, a spokeswoman for ACS. Norwood said the property where the birds were found had a covered arena where the birds were forced to fight in a ring for money. Investigators also found several dead birds. “There was also a number of roosters we found that had apparently not won the fights they were entered in, and they were discarded in what appeared to be a pile of trash,” Norwood said.

Man arrested after 7-year-old found in truck at casino

A man was arrested late Monday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa after he reportedly left a 7-year-old boy in a pickup truck with open bottles of alcohol, authorities said. David Wright, 61, was arrested on complaints of child endangerment, furnishing alcohol to a minor, public intoxication and resisting arrest, Catoosa police Lt. Andrew Wimberly said.  Police received a call to the casino shortly before midnight to investigate a child in need of supervision. Casino security officers found the child in a vehicle in the parking lot.  The child, who is the grandson of Wright’s girlfriend, told police that he had been left in the vehicle while Wright went inside. The only fluids present inside the truck were open bottles of alcohol, Wimberly said. Casino security guards indicated that the boy had apparently been in the truck just under an hour, he said.  It was 92 degrees at the time outside, and 94 degrees in the truck.

Coon Rapids woman accused of stealing $547,000 from restaurant group

A Coon Rapids woman who said she was addicted to gambling stole more than a half-million dollars from a Twin Cities restaurant group where she worked as a bookkeeper, according to felony charges filed against her. Ava Marie Hamilton, 51, is charged in Hennepin County District Court with nine counts of theft by swindle over $35,000 for stealing $547,807 over three years from Theros Restaurant Group LLC, owner of Rudolph’s Bar-B-Que in Minneapolis and the St. Clair Broiler in St. Paul. Charges say Hamilton, who worked as a manager at Rudolph’s and later a bookkeeper for Theros, stole company money by writing herself extra paychecks from the payroll account, using checks from the operating account to pay for personal expenses such as her mortgage payment, and using a company credit card to make hundreds of cash withdrawals at local casinos.

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


IOC issues a gambling ban for athletes in the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games

Casino Watch Focus has reported that the International Olympic Committee is no stranger to dealing with gambling scandals and game-fixing.  The next Olympic Games will take place in London in 2012.  Unfortunately, the region has been home to cricket and soccer game-fixing scandals.  One of this years goals of the IOC is to uphold the integrity of the games by proactively preventing any temptation to fix the Games.  The Telegraph explains how:

The International Olympic Committee is to introduce a widespead gambling ban  at the London 2012 events in an attempt to prevent the match-fixing scandals  which have blighted cricket and football.

The ban will apply to all 11,000 athletes, their coaches and support staff,  VIPs and accredited politicians and journalists. It will also cover anybody  who has access to inside information of the sporting competition or  competing athletes.

The IOC hopes the tougher stance will help combat illegal and irregular  betting, which president Jacques Rogge has called the biggest threat to the  credibility and integrity of sport.

The International Olympic Committee will attempt to enforce the ban to the best of their ability.  The Telegraph continues:

The IOC has the authority to strip medals from competitors and ban them and  their support teams from future Olympic competition if the rules are  breached at any time from July 16 to Aug 15 next year.

Those who face action by the IOC disciplinary commission will be asked to hand  over telephone bills, bank statements, internet service records, computers,  hard drives and other electronic information storage devices.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/04 – 07/10

Businessman kidnaps boy to pay gambling debts

A businessman who was heavily in debt due to gambling was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a five-year-old boy for ransom from outside a school in Punjabi Bagh area of west Delhi on Tuesday morning, police said. The accused, identified as Milind Godi (26), has a diploma in hotel management from London and is the owner of an automobile parts factory with a turnover of Rs 60-70 lakh. Godi made the kidnapping plan after watching a Hindi movie and decide to target a student of Hansraj Public School student in Punjabi Bagh thinking that it was a posh area and that the parent of the child, Ram Arora, would end up paying the ransom amount, police said.

 Tragic death of gambling addict dad

A GAMBLING addict hanged himself after running up debts and losing his cafe, an inquest heard. He left a suicide note saying: “The biggest regret I have is starting to play fruit machines as a teenager which led to a gambling addiction which I was unable to control.” Just four months previously, Mr Lockhart, who was separated from his wife and lived alone, lost a cafe he ran in Thorne after he could not pay the bills. A Rotherham inquest heard he once bet £500 on a snooker game but lost the match and the money. His daughter Hayley Leach said: “My father’s death came as a big surprise as I wasn’t aware of any medical problems.” She saw him every few days and would frequently see him popping into a bookies on Maltby High Street. Hayley said: “For many years he had a gambling addiction which got out of control.”

An Post manager ‘bet millions’

A senior post office manager, who went missing last week as a massive suspected fraud was discovered at his branch, had gambled several million euro in recent years. The family of Tony O’Reilly (36) have admitted he has a gambling addiction   that spiralled out of control in recent months. Details of the extent of his gambling problem have yet to be fully established  but it is understood that several million euro were wagered in betting transactions over a few years. Those transactions included winning as well   as losing bets.  A large proportion of the bets were placed through online and telephone   services provided for customers by a bookmaking firm.

 Bangalore man hits wife after argument, commits suicide

An argument over a gambling habit between an elderly couple late on Saturday night resulted in the suicide of the husband and hospitalisation of the wife. 56-year-old Prathima, wife of Shanthakumar (65), was to fly to Los Angeles last night to take care of her pregnant daughter, but fate had other plans.  On Saturday night, she and Shanthakumar had an argument and he slammed her head against a wall in their house in Basaveshwaranagar. Prathima collapsed to the floor bleeding profusely from a head injury. Fearing he had killed his wife, Shanthakumar hanged himself from the fan in the drawing room.

 Vermont-based Trono Fuels manager accused of embezzling over $220,000

A woman in charge of financial accounts at Trono Fuels Inc. is facing allegations she embezzled more than $220,000 from the company over five years. Nancy Poirier of Williamstown was indicted June 15 in U.S. District Court in Burlington on one count of embezzlement. Poirier is scheduled to plead to the federal charge at her arraignment Wednesday. Peter Trono, owner of Trono Fuels, said his company became aware of the alleged embezzlement during an in-house audit about a year ago, and he had not previously suspected Poirier of wrongdoing. “It’s very significant,” Trono said. “It’s a quarter of a million dollars. It’s a lot of money.”

The alleged embezzlement affected the company’s ability to purchase oil and the contributions it made to its employees’ 401(k) retirement plans, he said. Trono referred specifically to the case of Kathy Lantagne, who was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in prison for embezzling more than $490,000 from the Vermont Department for Children and Families. Lantagne, 48, of West Charleston, said she stole the money to support a gambling habit.

 Former Boulder bookkeeper Michelle Shelton sentenced to eight years for embezzlement

A former bookkeeper was sentenced to eight years in prison in district court on Friday for stealing more than $700,000 from her former employer, Boulder-based company Highline Financial.  Michelle Lynn Shelton, 40, stole around $768,671 from August 2007 to December 2010 while working at Highline as an account manager. She was arrested in January and pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft. Shelton, who was emotional throughout the hearing, was diagnosed with a gambling addiction, which she said was one of the reasons she stole money.  “I’ve made a lot of mistakes and now I’m forced to answer to them,” Shelton said to the court. “I’m devoting the rest of my life to finding out what caused this and never letting it happen again.”

Former Republican Party Chairman Caught up in Baltimore’s Online Gambling Sting

A former Republican party chairman allegedly stole $17,000 from political funds while fueling his online gambling habit. $27,300 of those funds were charged through Linwood Payment Solutions”, a processing company set up by the US Justice Department and Homeland Security. Larry Carillo, the former Larimer County, Colorado, Republican Party Chairman is charged with theft between $1,000 and $20,000, a fourth-degree felony that carries a penalty of up to four years in prison and a $500,000 fine.  A warrant for his arrest was issued on Tuesday. 

 Exec at children’s TV station Kika jailed for embezzling millions

A former executive for the German children’s TV channel Kinderkanal (Kika) was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five years in jail for stealing millions from the public broadcaster. Marco K., a 44-year-old production manager, was convicted of 48 counts of fraud and accepting bribes by a court in the eastern German city of Erfurt. Judges handed him a milder sentence of five years and three months after taking into consideration his full confession and serious gambling addiction.

East Hanover-based financial advisor admits stealing $1.9 million

A 35-year-old former financial advisor for an East Hanover company, who authorities said was addicted to online gambling, pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing $1.9 million from nine investors. Hawthorne resident Daniel J. Trolaro admitted to state Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morristown to one count of theft of $1.9 million between June 2008 and February 2010. His victims included residents of Long Hill Twp. and Rockaway. Trolaro’s plea agreement with state Assistant Attorney General John Kennedy calls for him to be sentenced on Aug. 19 to up to 10 years in prison though defense lawyer John Bruno said he would argue for a five-year stint.

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


Washington DC to allow online poker in September

Casino Watch Focus reported  that several states were in a race to be the first to legalize online poker.  New Jersey was the first to pass a bill to legalize it, but then the Governor vetoed the bill.  California considered full online gambling, but as an online source reported, California decided to partner with  PlayTech to provide online gaming, but it will only allow people to play for free, not for actual money.  They are laying the foundation for a possible change in federal policy that has effectively made online gaming illegal. Washington D.C. joined the mix and passed a measure to allow online gambling back in April.  Now, a different online source, is now reporting that they plan to go live with their online poker bill in September, but there is a catch:

Washington, D.C. will begin allowing poker players to play with real cash online beginning in September.  There’s one catch.  They’ll have to be in Washington, D.C. to play.

The District of Columbia is in the midst of rolling out the first legalized online poker room in the US.  It will be overseen by the D.C. Lottery and is considered a precursor to other states such as California and Florida jumping into the fray.  Nevada’s Governor signed a bill into law allowing Web poker in his state but the law only kicks into effect when similar legislation is passed on the federal level.

Congress did not object to the District’s efforts during its 30-day review period of the law, though legality issues remain unclear especially in light of recent federal crackdowns. 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 06/27 – 07/03

Ex-NBA star Walker pleads guilty to casino debts

Former NBA star Antoine Walker has pleaded guilty to passing bad checks in the form of unpaid gambling debts in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Sun reports the former all-star shooter who now plays for the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede will be put on probation and work toward paying off $750,000. The criminal complaint against Walker was filed in 2009, accusing him of having the debts at Caesars Palace, Red Rock and Caesars Palace. Walker won an NBA title in 2006 with the Miami Heat.

 West Palm Beach man shoots another after fight involving gambling debt, police say

In what started out as a night of friendly gambling, ended with an apartment brawl, gun shots fired and a $40 debt unpaid before night’s end. Drameko Larry Bennett, 32, of West Palm Beach, was arrested on charges of damage to property, possession and discharging a firearm, and aggravated battery with a firearm by Riviera Beach Police on June 26. The charges stem from an incident on May 24 that began when a fight broke out between two friends stemming from a gambling debt over a card game, according to a Riviera Beach police report. The victim drove himself to St. Mary’s Medical Center where he was treated for two gunshot wounds to the arm and buttocks and injuries to his right jaw and eyes.

Goalkeeper admits match-fixing

A top South Korean league goalkeeper has acknowledged being involved in a match-fixing scandal that is engulfing the domestic game, a K-League official said Monday. The goalkeeper from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors acknowledged helping to fix games last season while playing for the Chunnam Dragons, the K-League official said on condition of anonymity, citing department rules. South Korean media identified the player as Yeom Dong-gyun, who had played for South Korea’s under-23 team and been a back-up for the full national side.  Earlier this month, South Korean prosecutors indicted 14 people, including 10 K-League players over the scandal. Nine players, eight from Daejeon Citizen, allegedly took kickbacks from illegal gambling brokers to fix the outcome of games, while the 10th player allegedly bet on one of his own team’s games after learning the outcome would be rigged.

 Man pleads guilty to bilking Mass. Catholic school

A professional fundraiser charged with bilking a private school run by Roman Catholic nuns out of more than $360,000 pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced to two years in prison. Michael Hlady admitted stealing the money from Venerini Academy and misleading the school into believing that a well-known philanthropist was preparing to make a multimillion-dollar donation. Investigators said the 37-year-old Greenville, R.I., resident used the money on travel, gambling, adult entertainment and other personal expenses. Superior Court Judge James Lemire sentenced Hlady, who was arrested on March 2010, to two years in state prison and ordered him to make full restitution to the school. He was also ordered to undergo counseling for gambling addiction.

 Round Lake Beach woman admits theft

A Round Lake Beach woman faces up to seven years in prison after admitting Monday she stole $215,000 while working as the manager of a storage facility. Assistant State’s Attorney Tim Niehus said Tipler was the manager of Anchor Storage in Beach Park from January 2006 until she was fired in March 2009.  In that job, she was responsible for all the money that came into the business, Niehus said, and was required to account for the funds and make bank deposit. The auditor discovered $215,000 was missing, Niehus said, and Tipler was fired after she admitted she had taken the money. Tipler told the business owner she had spent the money in Wisconsin casinos, Niehus said, and she was arrested after an investigation by Lake County sheriff’s police.

 Former Brentwood official admits embezzling money, gambling it away

 ST. LOUIS • Former Brentwood City Administrator Christopher A. Seemayer pleaded guilty to two felonies in federal court here Wednesday morning and admitted embezzling almost $30,000 in city money and gambling it away.  Seemayer’s embezzlement was discovered when the city’s credit union called to ask why cash advances were being made on a city credit card at the Casino Queen. Seemayer tried to pay the money back, lawyers said, by sending personal checks to cover the losses.  He will pay it all back when he’s sentenced, his lawyer said in court.  Under federal sentencing guidelines, Seemayer faces six months to a year in prison for the two charges of theft from a program that receives federal funds. In 2010, at least some of the money came from a FEMA grant and in 2011 from grants from the Department of Justice and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 Full Tilt’s offshore gambling license suspended

Casino regulators on the British Channel Islands on Wednesday suspended the gambling license of Full Tilt Poker, halting the company’s online card games and intensifying its legal problems in the U.S. The Alderney Gambling Control Commission said in a statement it was immediately suspending Full Tilt’s license after an investigation prompted by earlier federal indictments in New York, accusing company executives and associates of bank fraud, money laundering and other crimes. Online poker operations are illegal in the U.S. under a 2006 law that forbids financial institutions from processing payments related to illegal online gambling.  Prosecutors in New York say employees of Full Tilt, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker skirted this law by disguising payments, creating shell retailers online and pushing money through as sales for things like golf balls and flowers.

 NM court OKs damage lawsuit against tribal casino

The family of two siblings killed in a car accident in New Mexico can seek damages against a tribal casino for serving them alcohol after they became intoxicated, the state’s highest court has ruled. Santa Ana Pueblo’s casino had argued that the legal dispute should be handled in tribal court rather than in a state court. The state Supreme Court disagreed in a ruling on Monday. The unanimous decision permits a wrongful death lawsuit to move ahead against the Santa Ana Star Casino near Bernalillo. The case was brought by the mother and other family of Michael and Desiree Mendoza, a brother and sister who were killed in a car crash in July 2006 after attending a wedding reception at the casino. It’s unclear which of the two were driving the car. The lawsuit claims their deaths were caused because the casino continued to serve them alcohol after they were intoxicated. A pueblo liquor ordinance prohibited the casino from serving alcoholic drinks to an intoxicated person.

 Russian mob took part in Hollywood poker games: report

Members of the notoriously brutal Russian mob took part in multi-million dollar underground Hollywood poker games involving a number of A-List actors.  In a display of how the mobsters meant business, Star magazine and RadarOnline.com reported today that Molly Bloom, the 33-year-old ringleader behind the illegal ring, was roughed up in 2009 after fleeing Los Angeles to New York. Insiders connected to the game speculate that the mob may be responsible for her beating, sources told Star magazine. Last week, Star magazine reported that “Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire is among over a dozen Hollywood celebrities being sued in connection with an illegal gambling ring that ran high-stakes underground poker games in Beverly Hills.  Other bold face names that took part included billionaire businessman Alex Gores, “The Notebook” director Nick Cassavetes, “Welcome Back, Kotter” star Gabe Kaplan, Paris Hilton’s infamous sex tape partner, Rick Salomon, record label owner Cody Leibel and Las Vegas nightlife entrepreneur Andrew Sasson.

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


Another Congressional session, another attempt to legalize online gambling

Casino Watch Focus has reported  many times of the failed attempt by both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives to legalize online gambling.  Each legislative session has ended with the same rules in place which effectively make gambling online illegal, and each subsequent legislative session begins with some attempts to legalize online gambling.  Now, an online source is reporting that several new attempts are in the works, including one to legalize online poker with an option for each state to opt out:

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is drafting legislation that would legalize Internet poker, a spokesperson tells Digital Transactions News. “This is a poker-only bill,” the spokesperson says.  Some Capitol Hill publications speculated that Barton would introduce his bill as early as this week, but that won’t happen, his spokesperson says. Barton is still lining up co-sponsors and working on the language.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2011, H.R. 2230, which would set up procedures to collect taxes from legal online wagering. McDermott’s two cosponsors are U.S. Reps. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Barney Frank, D-Mass., who in March introduced their

Internet Gambling, Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. That bill, H.R. 1174, would legalize online gambling except sports betting and have the U.S. Treasury Department regulate it. H.R. 1174 is identical to a measure the two offered in the last session of Congress that failed, according to a spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, a pro-wagering lobbying group.

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