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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.