A Brief Look at Crime 10/03 – 10/09

Holden woman who gambled at Hollywood Slots with stolen $280,000 gets 3½ years in prison

A Holden woman was sentenced Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to eight years in prison with all but 3½ years suspended for stealing nearly $300,000 from mobile home sales to spend at Hollywood Slots, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Tammy Barker, 43, also was sentenced to three years of probation.  Barker made 85 ATM withdrawals totaling $250,000 that she spent at Hollywood Slots, from late 2005 — when it opened its interim facility in the former Miller’s Restaurant — through 2006, according to Assistant Attorney General Leann Robbin, who prosecuted the case. In addition to prison time, Barker was ordered to pay $81,126 in restitution to the victims.

Center resident pleads guilty to federal fraud charges  

A Center Township financial planner has pleaded guilty to federal charges connected with the theft of $2.5 million from 25 different people to fuel his gambling addiction, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Pittsburgh said.  John D. Wosotowsky, 51, of 843 Monaca Road, pleaded guilty to  charges of mail fraud and filing a false income tax return in U.S. District Court on Thursday.  Prosecutors said Wosotowsky, an employee of MetLife Securities, built a pyramid scheme in the last decade, convincing investors to pay into a product he said was a part of the MetLife system but was actually a series of accounts he controlled. Using fake changes of address and requests for disbursements, Wosotowsky was able to build a substantial personal account, but he never invested money given to him by others.

Area social clubs sentenced in federal gambling probe

A federal judge has penalized three area social clubs to the tune of nearly $300,000 for operating illegal casinos.  U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal imposed the penalties as part of an investigation that focused on an Athens-based gaming company that authorities say conspired with the clubs and convenience stores to split illegal gambling profits.  Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2872 in Athens must pay a $108,000 forfeiture to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 262 in Winder will have to pay a court fine of $150,000, according to sentences passed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Athens. The VFW post won’t be able to have video gaming machines during the one-year probation that Royal imposed, and the Moose club can’t have any machines for five years. The judge ordered Moose Lodge 1099 in Elberton to pay a $30,000 forfeiture during sentencing on Sept. 7, when he placed the club on probation for five years in which it cannot have gaming machines.

 3 Union County men plead guilty to operating illegal poker club in Kenilworth

Three Union County men who operated an illegal poker club, working as card dealers, pleaded guilty to illegal gambling charges today in federal court in Newark. Anthony “Brooklyn” Alfano, 77, of Union, Tonino “Tony” Colantonio, 32, of Kenilworth, and Guiseppe “Pepe” Pugliese, 33, also of Kenilworth, entered guilty pleas to one count each of illegal gambling and illegal gambling conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, Department of Justice officials said. Under New Jersey law, a gambling business is considered illegal if operated by five or more people for more than 30 days without a license. The business must also take in more than $2,000 a day

 Feds sue Nevada hotel for harassing Hispanics

The federal government is suing a Nevada hotel for allegedly allowing its Hispanic employees to be called derogatory names such as “taco bell” and “bean burrito.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday that it had filed a lawsuit against the Pioneer Hotel in Laughlin, Nev., for ignoring the alleged harassment. Federal officials say hotel managers were first told in 2006 that several Hispanic room attendants had been subject to the comments referencing their ethnicity and skin color. The comments came from coworkers and supervisors. Some of the comments were profane. The hotel allegedly didn’t take action to prevent or correct the harassment in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act. Federal officials say some Nevada casinos seem to be retaliating against employees who complain about hostile work environments.

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