Monthly Archives: August 2011

UPDATE: “Operation End Zone” following ESPN exposes florida youth football gambling ring

Casino Watch Focus reported that  a terrible Florida youth football gambling ring had been exposed by ESPN.  Most people were absolutely shocked to learn how much illegal gambling was taking place on youth football games.  Kids were being bribed or paid to play for certain teams, families were being taken advantage of and the game was being tainted by the lowest of criminals.  Unfortunately, a lot of those involved in the game knew what was happening.  After the Nationwide expose, it was all but impossible for the community to turn their heads anymore.  The Orlando Sentinel explains “Operation End Zone:”

When South Florida Youth Football League games are held at three city parks, a new police enforcement policy called “Operation End Zone” will be in play. “We have a zero tolerance policy for gambling, drinking and violence,” Fort Lauderdale Detective Travis Mandell said. “We want children to be able to participate in youth football without criminal activity around them.”

In a letter on its website, the league calls illegal gambling its “toughest challenge” that “threatens the integrity of the league.”  It promises to suspend players who accept money to play, and says that any coaches or teams found to be engaging in gambling could face expulsion. Anyone found violating state statutes, city ordinances or park rules may be arrested or permanently expelled from using that park, the police department promises.

Police are asking anyone who observes any criminal or suspicious activities at the youth football games to contact the Fort Lauderdale Police Department tip lines: 954-828-5661 for English speakers, 954-828-5662 for Spanish speakers, and 954-828-5663 for Creole speakers.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 08/15 – 08/21

Newcastle facebook fraud fiend is jailed

CYBER schemer Iain Wood created virtual identities of his neighbours to hack their bank accounts and use their savings to bankroll his gambling addiction.  He targeted those who lived in the same North block of flats as him in a complex fraud the kind of which a veteran judge confessed he had never come across before.  Wood even befriended his targets on social networking sites such as Facebook where he would spend up to 18 hours in order to harvest as much personal information about them as possible.  He then stole their utility bills to build up a bank of information about them.  With this detail he was able to steal their identities and then used their personal details to get past security checks and hack into their bank accounts.  Once there he ordered new bank cards which he used to withdraw more than £35,000 over the next two years which he blew on gambling.

 Lawyer’s License on Ice; Found to Have Helped Client Bookie Run Illegal Gambling Business

A Massachusetts attorney has had his law license indefinitely suspended after he allegedly helped a client bookmaker run an illegal gambling business from the basement of his home, reports the Legal Profession Blog. The suspension for Mark James O’Connor, who is also accused of earning a 10 percent commission by helping a friend with an out-of-state business obtain $700,000 to $800,000 in cash in a “structuring” scheme that circumvented bank reporting laws, took effect on Aug. 10. A state Board of Bar Overseers opinion summary of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling in the Suffolk County case provides further details.

 Va. Gang Task Force Busts Dragon Family Gambling Ring

Dozens of law enforcement officers busted an illegal gambling ring in Falls Church, Va., seizing more than $1 million in cash and arresting members of a Vietnamese-American gang.  Falls Church police learned late last fall that the Dragon Family gang was running a sophisticated gambling operation out of a local shopping center — hidden in plain sight. Gamblers who lost $100,000 to the gang over the course of a year complained to police, so they called the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force for help. The gambling ring operated out of 13 small coffee shops with names like the HA Cafe and Cafe VV, police said. All were in the Eden Center, a shopping mecca for the local Vietnamese community.


Former Granite Falls Police Chief Charles Allen is headed to the place he helped send many a man over a long career in law enforcement: to prison.  On Friday Allen was sentenced to five years behind bars for embezzling more than half a million dollars in social security money from poor people, disabled people and the mentally ill. Prosecutors estimated Allen stole more than $600,000 that he used for gambling, alimony payments and various other personal reasons.

 Indictment charges gambler of scamming charities, non-profits

Charities and non-profit organizations that benefit schoolchildren and support people with life-threatening illnesses lost $768,000 to a compulsive gambler who promised them several rounds at the Augusta National Golf Course, a walk-on role on “Desperate Housewives,” and tickets to the Tony Awards but never delivered, an indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Newark today charges. After the winning bidders made their pledges and he received his commissions, 34-year-old Gregory Ciccone of Woodland Park tried to stall them — including once telling a winning bidder that the 2009 Tour de France had been postponed, federal authorities said. Ciccone used the ill-gotten gains, in part, to feed a gambling habit, they said.

 Georgia launches crackdown on online gambling

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state authorities to crack down on illegal gambling dens masquerading as Internet cafes on Thursday amid fears that the firms are planning a “massive expansion” into the state with hundreds of new outlets. About 50 to 100 active gambling sites have already set up shop in Georgia, and Deal said investigators believe Internet sweepstakes parlors are eyeing hundreds more locations throughout the state. They are laying the groundwork for the move, he said, by challenging local prosecutors in each district with a flawed interpretation of state law. “Over the past several months there has been a strategic campaign of disinformation regarding this issue,” said Deal, who was joined by Attorney General Sam Olens and other law enforcement officials. “Today we are here united to send a clear message that we don’t want this industry here in the state of Georgia, and I’m directing the state’s resources to eliminate it from our communities.”

 Former hospital employee charged with embezzlement

A former employee of St. Vincent Healthcare has been charged with embezzling more than $55,000 from the hospital. According to court records, Nieder began working at the hospital in 1979 and was eventually promoted to office coordinator for St. Vincent Healthcare’s Occupational Health division. In that job, Nieder was responsible for administering contracts between the hospital and its clients, made banking deposits and had full access to the computer billing system. Nieder was interviewed by a police detective in February and allegedly admitted to using the money to support a gambling habit.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 08/08 – 08/14

31 arrests made after cockfighting ring bust

Lawrence County Drug Task Force agents along with the assistance of Sheriff’s Deputies raided the property after conducting a month long investigation. Mitchell said an undercover agent was able to witness illegal cock fighting, as well as illegal drug activity that was occurring on the property. Mitchell said that agents also discovered several roosters that were dead or severely injured. Charges included unlawful possession of a controlled substance, chicken fighting, gambling and cruelty to animals.  Mitchell said the organizers, Davvie and Mary Gillespie, were among those arrested.  Agents discovered the Gillespies were also operating a concession stand which sold food and drinks to the patrons. 

 Shop raids fuelled gambling, jury told

A CONVICT raided a dozen bookmakers at gunpoint while on day release from an open prison, the Old Bailey heard. Former Bolton man Joseph Williams robbed the betting shops to get his hands on cash to feed his gambling addiction, jurors heard. Williams, who was also let out at weekends for “resettlement leave” to help him prepare for life outside prison, has since been moved to mediumsecurity prison. The court heard he frequently drained his bank account within days of receiving his monthly pay, with records showing huge cash withdrawals and card spending in betting shops. Kate Lumsdon, prosecuting, told jurors: “’He carried a plastic bag which appeared to have something in it, and the way he held it was as if it was a gun. “This gun was used to threaten staff in order to get them to hand over the money.”

 Award Winning Honky Triad Blackjack Dealer Stole Millions from Casino

The talented roulette and blackjack dealer, who last year impressed international blackjack awards judges with his ‘amazing techniques behind the blackjack table’ got fired from the casino and arrested for a different kind of amazing technique behind the blackjack table. For the past month, Holland Casino has been keeping a close eye on Honky, after a trainee blackjack dealer who idolized Honky and often observed him out of the corner of his eyes, witnessed Honky colluding with players and frequently overpaying winning bets by thousands of dollars using ‘sleight of hand’ techniques.

Reports put Holland Casino’s overall losses at over a million and the casino has been reviewing old security tapes to detect when the cheating has begun. Since becoming a superstar, Honky was not observed as frequently by casino security as he should have. It is the casino security, whose laxity may be partially to blame for the scheme not being uncovered sooner.

Former Charity Director Indicted for Fraud, Identity Theft

Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Kansas City, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for a fraud scheme in which he stole more than $133,000 from two local charities and his visually impaired landlord. Taylor served as executive director for two Kansas City non-profit organizations. Today’s indictment alleges that, from April 2, 2007, to May 7, 2010, Taylor embezzled at least $133,161 from the Epilepsy Foundation of Kansas and Western Missouri and Westport Cooperative Services. The indictment also alleges that Taylor stole the identity of his landlord in order to open two unauthorized credit accounts. During the scheme, the indictment says, Taylor lost more than $72,000 playing the slot machines at the Prairie Band Casino. As a result, Taylor received more than $5,200 in complementary benefits from the casino, the indictment says, including travel and lodging.

 Walsall gambling addict forged father’s signature to get second mortgage

A THIRTY-three-old gambling addict who forged his father’s signature to get a £104,000 second mortgage on the family’s home has been spared an immediate prison sentence.  Judge Jonathan Gosling told Mohammed Azhar: “What you did was thoroughly dishonest. You cheated not just the mortgage company but your own father and you put his home at risk.” He added, at Wolverhampton Crown Court: “This was undoubtably prompted by greed when you were in the clutches of a desperate gambling habit.”

 Guilty plea over bribes by brothel operators

A FORMER senior local government official has pleaded guilty to taking $130,000 in bribes over an eight-year period from the operators of a network of illegal brothels across Melbourne. Ken Wolfe, who resigned as the City of Yarra’s Co-ordinator of Planning Enforcement after his town hall office was raided last November, yesterday pleaded guilty to taking bribes from three men connected to premises that allegedly offered sexual services without a brothel licence. In return for the payments,  Wolfe tipped off illegal brothel operators about impending raids by authorities.  Wolfe has previously told The Age he had taken money from the men to fuel his gambling addiction.

 Gambling addict stole $3m from NuFarm to pay Crown Casino

Somerville was sentenced to nine years’ jail on Friday after pleading guilty to stealing $3.8 million over six years from his employer, Nufarm Limited, which makes weed and pest-control products for farmers.  Judge Margaret Rizkalla said a psychologist’s report showed Somerville had a pathological gambling addiction and at one point moved into an apartment across the road from the casino.  The psychologist found Somerville had a gambling addiction of “majestic proportions” which had been encouraged by Crown Casino, the judge said.  Somerville stole the funds from Nufarm between 1995 and 2001 when he was employed as a production manager at the company’s site at Laverton, southwest of Melbourne.

 ‘Disgraceful’ lawyer stole $770,000 from client

A SYDNEY solicitor has been struck off the register and may face criminal charges after he stole more than three-quarters of a million dollars from an ailing, elderly man who had entrusted him with his financial affairs.  Kenneth John Rook – formerly a principal solicitor at law firm Bartier Perry in the city  – was given power of attorney over Keith Primrose in August 2007. Court documents show the two men were connected through family.  But an investigation by the Law Society of NSW revealed that Mr Rook misused his position to steal about $770,000 from Mr Primrose over  18 months, including defrauding his estate after he died.  He did not appear at his hearing but in a letter to the Law Society of NSW in May  he said he had been suffering from a gambling addiction at the time of the theft.

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

Alex Rodriguez Comes Under Investigation because of more illegal Gambling Allegations

Casino Watch Focus recently reported that several star NLF athletes, including Terrell Owens and Santana Moss, were under investigation for violating NFL gaming operation rules.  Now it appears that Major League Baseball is suffering from a similar potentially embarrassing gambling investigation.  One of baseball’s biggest starts, Alex Rodriguez, is under investigation for alleged evolvement in illegal high-end poker games.  The Wall Street Journal explains:

Yankees star Alex Rodriguez will be interviewed by Major League Baseball as part of its investigation of his involvement in illegal poker games.  Star Magazine reported last month that several people saw A-Rod playing in games hosted at Hollywood hotels and residences. His publicist denied that Rodriguez participated.

Rodriguez’s name is not mentioned in any court filings in relation to the games.  MLB said at the time that the report was the first the commissioner’s office had heard about the accusation and baseball officials would look into the matter.

However, this is not the first time A-Rod has been under fire due to his gambling.  The Wall Street Journal explains:

Rodriguez also faced questions about his gambling habits in 2005, when the Daily News reported he attended games at an underground poker club in New York. The slugging third baseman later acknowledged “it wasn’t the right thing to do,” and checked with MLB before holding a charity poker tournament the following year.    

Rodriguez is possibly facing a suspension from baseball if these allegations are proven.  ESPN  explains why his gambling past may catch up with him on a disciplinary level:

An MLB executive, speaking to on condition of anonymity, indicated that Rodriguez could miss games if the investigation proves he was at the poker games. “Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play.”

Although baseball’s investigation centers on Rodriguez’s card-playing, and he is not thought to have gambled on the outcome of any baseball games, the fact that he may have disregarded Selig’s warning is said to have angered the commissioner.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 08/01 – 08/07

One dead, two hospitalized in Nevis shootings

The excitement and fun of the Nevis Culturama festival was spoilt last night and this morning with shootings and a homicide. According to police reports, three separate shooting incidents have left one man dead and two others hospitalized.  Head of Nevis division of the police force, Inspector Brandy told ZIZ news that at 9 o’clock last night Bernard Browne of Cole Hill was getting out of his vehicle to go into his home when he was attacked and shot. He was taken to the hospital and is in a stable condition.  Then at 1 am on Monday some persons crept up on an old house at Pond Hill in Gingerland where illegal gambling was taking place. A fight broke out and Joel Simmonds was shot. He was transported to the hospital where he is in a critical condition.

Stanius pleads guilty to all charges in school thefts

A former Shakopee High School administrative assistant pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $168,000 from a student activity account. Deanna Stanius, 50, of Burnsville pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court to all six counts of theft by swindle. All counts are felonies. The guilty pleas were offered without any plea agreement. “She just wants to express to the public and especially the school district that she’s extremely remorseful with her theft,” Stanius’ attorney Joseph Tamburino said following the hearing.  Tamburino said while his client doesn’t want to make excuses, Stanius has a severe gambling addiction and suffers from depression. Stanius has received some inpatient treatment for her addiction, he said.  “It’s today’s world, gambling is pretty prevalent and is easy to get to … and it took her in,” he said. “It just took over everything.”

Two Charged With Leaving Their Children In Hot Cars Outside Parx Casino

This is like one of those Gambling Addiction PSAs come to life. This past Saturday, at Parx Casino in Bensalem, a six year-old girl was found in the parking lot, left unattended in her father’s sweltering car, for at least “17 minutes” according to The Inquirer. Michael Roytman was found in the casino after his daughter was treated by rescue workers. The inky says, “Roytman was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangering another person. He was arraigned and sent to Bucks County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail.”

West Boylston man accused of investor fraud

State securities regulators accuse a West Boylston man of exploiting ethnic connections to defraud three investors out of nearly $800,000 and using some of the money for gambling vacations to Connecticut, the French Riviera and Monte Carlo.  The administrative complaint issued Monday by Secretary of State William Galvin also alleges that Edward Kooyomjian sold unregistered securities and acted as an unregistered agent. It seeks a full accounting of securities sold, compensation and a cease and desist order.  Galvin says between 2006 and 2008 Kooyomjian gained the trust of Armenian-American investors and told them he would invest their money in various real estate ventures. The complaint alleges that while he did secure land, some of the money was used for gambling.

 Federal judge: Miccosukees must turn over financial records to IRS

The Miccosukees must turn over voluminous financial records to the Internal Revenue Service for an investigation into the tribe’s alleged failure to report and withhold income taxes on tens of millions of dollars in gambling profits distributed yearly to tribe members, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold stopped the Miccosukees’ bid to block the IRS summonses for financial records relating to about 600 tribal members. The documents are held by Morgan Stanley, Citibank, Wachovia and American Express and cover the years 2006-09.  In court paper, Furnas said the IRS learned of “allegations that the tribe regularly hired armored cars to carry cash, somewhere between $6 and $10 million per quarter, from its gambling operation for direct distribution to tribal members without reporting these distributions to the IRS.”

Daughter sentenced for stealing mother’s savings

Attorney General Luther Strange announced Tues day that Debra Davis has been sentenced to serve two years in prison for stealing $130,000 of retirement savings from her hospitalized mother. Davis pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to first-degree theft, and on July 28, she received a sentence of 10 years imprisonment, of which she was ordered to serve two years with the remainder suspended and followed by three years of supervised probation.  “A jail sentence is fitting for the crime committed by this woman, who raided her mother’s retirement accounts and then gambled away the money her mother had saved and depended upon for the later years of life,” said Strange. “This is a tragic betrayal that continues to cause tremendous suffering and loss for the victim.”

Miami Edison High treasurer nabbed for stealing $14,000 from troubled school

Police said Bradley forged her supervisor’s signature and depositing the school checks into her personal bank account. Then when the bank statements arrived at the school, she erased her name from the statement and replaced it with that of a verified school vender. Bradley’s bond was set at $15,000 on Wednesday. In court, her mother told the judge her daughter has a “gambling problem.’’ In her confession, police said Bradley blamed personal financial problems for her actions.

$150k stolen to feed pokies

A TERRITORY manager pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing more than $150,000 from his employer to sustain his gambling addiction. Christopher Carr Fletcher, 46, was sentenced to three years in jail with a non-parole period of 18 months. Ms Henderson said Fletcher was responsible for banking the daily takings. But she said he had been pocketing the cash – $167,375 – between August and November last year. His lawyer Chrissy McConnel told the court Fletcher had been stealing to “pay for his gambling habit”. She said most of the stolen money and his own salary – $115,000 a year – went straight into poker machines. “This shows some context into how much he was spending on gambling,” Ms McConnel said.

Gates first to plead guilty in USD bribery case

Former Morse High football standout David Gates became the first defendant in the University of San Diego bribery case to plead guilty, admitting Thursday he collected debts for what he described as an illegal sports gambling ring. The length of any proposed sentence was not divulged at the hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Louisa Porter. Gates is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 28. The April indictment against the 10 defendants in the case also includes allegations of marijuana distribution and fixing college basketball games, but Gates’ plea dealt only with the sports bookmaking side of the operation. Gates, 35, admitted to being a member of an “illegal gambling business” that included fellow defendants Steve Goria, Richard Garmo, Paul Thweni, Richard Thweni and Lilian Goria.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 07/25 – 07/31

Attorneys: US Rep. Rivera facing federal probe

Federal authorities are interviewing witnesses in connection with an investigation into possible tax evasion by South Florida U.S. Rep. David Rivera, people with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.  FBI and IRS agents are looking at whether taxes were paid on a secret $1 million contract Rivera signed in 2006 to manage a successful campaign to expand gambling in Miami-Dade County, attorneys told The Associated Press. State officials are also investigating Rivera’s state campaign and personal finances.  Among those being interviewed is attorney Lori Weems, who helped draw up a contract between the owners of the Flagler Dog Track – now known as the Magic City Casino – and a company linked to Rivera. Rivera signed the contract but has denied receiving any money from the deal. The company linked to Rivera was started by his mother, then run by a family friend who later rehired his mother as vice president.

 Law enforcement officials say caseload higher since casino opened

Ever since Mark Twain Casino in LaGrange opened for business 10 years ago, law enforcement officials in Lewis County have seen an increase in bad checks charges and domestic violence cases. “Our bad check cases at least doubled since the casino opened,” Prosecuting Attorney Jules “Jake” DeCoster said. “The people go and blow their paycheck at the casino, and then they write bad checks for their gas and groceries. We’ve had a number of people who have gotten into real financial difficulties because of the gambling problems they have.”

DeCoster said he also has noticed an increase in domestic violence cases since the casino opened. “The husband goes and blows his paycheck at the casino, and when the wife objects, he takes it out on her,” he said.  DeCoster said the sharpest annual jump in bad check and domestic violence cases occurred during the first year the casino opened. “It hasn’t continued to increase, but it hasn’t gone back down,” he said.

 Police: 7 wounded in casino shooting near Seattle

A man went to a casino near Seattle early Sunday looking for a woman, found her on a crowded dance floor with another man, shot them both and continued firing, wounding five others before being tackled by a security guard, authorities said. All seven victims were hospitalized, at least two with critical injuries, Auburn Police Commander Jamie Sidell said. Two others received minor injuries while trying to flee the scene. The other three shooting victims were transported to Valley Medical Center in Renton, which declined to release information on their conditions Sunday. Two other people received minor injuries while trying to flee the scene with the rest of the crowd, police said. None of the victims’ names were released.

Former talk show host Anthony Cutaia pleads guilty to fraud

The former host of a South Florida real estate talk show pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday in connection with a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors of as much as $2.5 million. Anthony F. Cutaia, of Boynton Beach, recruited investors for commercial real estate projects in Broward and Palm Beach counties, but he used much of their money to pay for a cruise, trips to casinos, gambling debts, overdue office rent and a DirecTV subscription, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a plea agreement. Cutaia pleaded guilty to mail fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000. He also must repay investors. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors said they would recommend that Cutaia be sentenced at the low end of the guideline range.

2 men shot, 1 dies in N. Raleigh robbery attempt

One man was killed and another was wounded Monday night when, police say, the men tried to rob a poker game in a North Raleigh home. Brandon Dwain Shelton, 28, was killed, and Brian Matthew Onley, 23, was wounded in his right arm. Both were shot during a struggle at a home.  Raleigh police say the two men entered the home brandishing guns and wearing masks. There was a poker game going on at the time. The house is owned by Gregg Maluchnik, 34, who was arrested Tuesday on charges of gambling, a misdemeanor. The games usually happened on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Wednesday drawing the biggest crowds, and cars would line Sweetbriar Drive on that night, Maddox said. She said she thought Maluchnik was teaching classes on how to make money. “They were always very quiet, that’s why I thought he was teaching classes – when the whole time he was playing poker,” Maddox said.

Howell woman accused of printing $53K in lottery tickets

A Howell woman was arraigned late Tuesday on an embezzlement charge for allegedly creating $53,000 worth of lottery tickets she did not purchase. The woman, identified in court records as Wendy Elise Frazier, 48, allegedly admitted that she printed the lottery tickets, but did not pay for the tickets while working at the CVS store at 2235 E. Grand River Ave. in Genoa Township. Frazier reportedly told store officials that “she had family matters to take care of,” and that she had a gambling problem, police said.

Highland Park man missing since 1979 surfaces in Nevada
Ex-Board of Trade member, declared legally dead in 1986, charged with identity theft, fraud

Police feared foul play when Arthur Jones disappeared in 1979, leaving behind a wife and three children. At the time, his wife told investigators he had a history of large gambling debts that had forced him to sell his seat on the Chicago Board of Trade.  Detectives found his abandoned Buick near O’Hare International Airport. They learned that one of his business associates, Carl Gaimari, a wealthy commodities trader, had been gunned down days earlier in his Inverness home by masked intruders. “He was a heavy gambler, and we thought he might have gotten in trouble with the big guys,” Verbeke recalled. Jones was tracked down in Las Vegas only after the Social Security Administration — acting on complaints from a man who said his Social Security number was being used by another — approached the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles for help in locating him, said Kevin Malone, spokesman for the Nevada DMV.

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

Michael Vick to support Federal bill to curb illegal gambling and dog fighting

Casino Watch Focus has reported that lawmakers across the country started focusing on legislation in their respective states to help curb dog fighting after Michael Vick was arrested for illegal gambling and dog fighting.  Vick took full responsibility for his actions and after spending two years in prison, he has been an advocate for animal rights.  Even though many local politicians were focusing on the issue, there haven’t been a lot of federal bills aimed at reducing the illegal gambling.  Now, a Jacksonville Source is reporting that a Vick is supporting a new federal bill:

 Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback Michael Vick is scheduled to pledge his support Tuesday for new legislation to crack down on supporters of dog fighting. Vick will be joined at a news conference on Capitol Hill by Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the United States, Vick announced on his official website. The bill, H.R. 2492, seeks to penalize people who finance and bring children to dog fights and cock fights.

“Spectators are participants and accomplices who enable the crime of animal fighting, provide a large share of the funding for the criminal enterprise through their admission fees and gambling wagers, and help conceal handlers and organizers who try to blend into the crowd when a bust occurs,” Pacelle said in a statement.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 07/18 – 07/24

Anderson man pleads guilty to 2009 shooting at illegal poker house

No one was happy with the sentence that Marcus Burriss was given Tuesday for his role in the shooting death of a man who ran an illegal poker house in 2009. Burriss, 32, was sentenced to serve 20 years after he pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter, armed robbery and weapon possession. Jack Hall, 62, was operating an illegal video poker operation in a house on Dobbins Bridge Road in Anderson County in March 2009 when Burriss shot him, according to prosecution and defense attorneys. Hall died two months later in the hospital from an infection due to the shooting, prosecutors said.

 Ex-principal charged with $87,000 theft

The former principal at McNichols Plaza Elementary School in South Scranton allegedly stole $87,000 to “fuel” a gambling addiction, officials said in court papers. About $20,000 a year was intended to flow into the fund through biweekly payroll deductions. It was designed to pay for end-of-school-year parties, holiday parties, retirement parties and flowers and condolences for members and their families, Lackawanna County Detective John Munley said in court papers. When he was confronted by members of the association, court papers state, Mr. McCreary admitted in an e-mail that he took the money “to fuel an ongoing addiction to gambling.”

Game Fixing Rattles Soccer Around World

International soccer authorities and law enforcement officials are struggling to combat rampant game fixing by what they describe as sprawling networks of organized crime, a problem that has plagued the sport for decades but appears to have intensified recently. “Probably 90 percent of the legal and illegal gambling on football around the world takes place in Southeast Asia,” said Chris Eaton, a former Interpol official who for the last year has been head of security for FIFA, soccer’s world governing body. “There they bet on all kinds of matches, particularly European football. So it makes sense that criminal activity would arise there alongside it.” Concerned about the unyielding waves of allegations, which have prompted questions about the integrity of the sport, FIFA pledged $20 million in May to create a unit within Interpol in Singapore dedicated to rooting out game rigging in Asia.

State worker who stole, sold files sentenced

A disgraced Department of Social and Health Services worker caught selling confidential information about thousands Washingtonians has been sentenced to just less than two years in prison. Having pleaded guilty to related offenses in March, Thevy Plom was sentenced Monday to a prison term for what prosecutors called a “a breach of public trust and corrupt actions.” Federal prosecutors contend Plom stole and sold earnings information and addresses from a state computer off and on for a decade. Writing the court, Plom, 44, apologized for the crimes that saw him make $108,000 from unscrupulous process servers and investigators. Plom, defense attorney Lynn Hartfield said, began gambling as his life came apart following a divorce. He ultimately found himself tens of thousands of dollars in the hole, and looked to sell information to cover his debt.

7 Major US Online Gambling Sites Shut Down Completely

One of the oldest established online gambling sites, the casino group English Harbour, has shut down along with 6 other online casino brands.  The death of online gambling sites continues.  Among the group of casinos to delete their websites and close their gambling doors are English Harbour, Millionaire Casino, VIP Slots, Slots Galore, Silver Dollar Casino, Super Slots and Caribbean Gold Casinos. Over the weekend the casinos began displaying a closure notice announcing to players that they should cash-out their funds or play out the money in their account.  Gamblers are going to be given until August 1, 2011 to do so.

Ex-bookkeeper admits $600,000 in thefts fed gambling addiction

A former bookkeeper at Eastern Star Home & Campus in Oriskany admitted in court Tuesday that she knew it was wrong to keep stealing thousands of dollars from the senior living facility to feed her gambling addiction. Yet Sharon Oczkowski, 58, of Whitesboro, said the lure of gambling at the Turning Stone Resort Casino was too much for her, and she spent more than three years stealing more than $617,000 from Eastern Star to throw it all away on slot machines and casino tables. “I was raised to know right from wrong, and I never even had a parking ticket,” Oczkowski said as she pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny in Oneida County Court. “I would go to bed at night hoping the next day would be different … but it was never different.”

Ex-bookkeeper pleads guilty in $4.8M embezzlement

former Northern California bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $4.8 million from her longtime clients. The Contra Costa Times reports that Ann Ray entered her plea Tuesday under a deal with prosecutors. The 67-year-old Antioch woman, also known as Georgia Engelhart, also pleaded guilty to six counts of tax evasion and agreed to repay the money to Don and Carole Tanklage of San Carlos.  Prosecutors say Ray rigged the Tanklages’ books between 1998 and 2009 to pay her bills, take expensive trips and gambling.

$15 Million in Seized Full Tilt Poker Funds Documented so Far and Growing According to Website

Full Tilt Poker and were two of the companies that had accounts seized by US authorities on April 15, charged with money laundering and bank fraud.  According to the website, Full Tilt Poker so far owes an estimated $15,254,466.07.  The Cereus Network, which is comprised of Absolute Poker and, owes an estimated $415,531.00. UseMyWallet, an e-Wallet solution caught up in a recent US investigation into payment processing companies, is estimated to owe $245,865.00, however, they were in the process of paying back customers who were able to set up euro transaction accounts.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Approves Fines Totaling $355,000

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today levied fines totaling $355,000 that involved 19 instances of underage gaming, and six regulatory violations involving slot machines or software that had yet to be approved. The total amount of fines was the most levied by the Board at a single meeting.  “While we certainly have a responsibility to work with casinos and maximize the revenue and jobs that benefit Pennsylvanians, our most important responsibility is to protect the public by ensuring that casinos are adhering to the law and regulations,” Gaming Control Board Chairman Greg Fajt says. “In these instances, it was imperative that the Board act in a manner that clearly tells those companies that have been given the privilege of holding a Pennsylvania gaming license that violations are both unacceptable and have consequences.”

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