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

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