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

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