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 UB.com 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 StolenBankrolls.com website, Full Tilt Poker so far owes an estimated $15,254,466.07.  The Cereus Network, which is comprised of Absolute Poker and UB.com, 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.”

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

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