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

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