A Brief Look at Crime 10/17 – 10/23

Hester says he was assaulted at Illinois casino

Police say Hester was in a cashier line Friday night at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines when Daniel Rago slapped the player in the back of the head with his hand and then walked away. The 52-year-old  Rago of Mount Prospect faces one misdemeanor count of battery after the incident, which was captured on surveillance camera.  Police Chief Jim Prandini says Hester didn’t retaliate, calling him a “perfect gentleman” when he reported to the casino what happened. He says Rago had been drinking and later explained he was just trying to slap Hester’s hat off. Two days later, Hester caught a touchdown pass and added a career-long, 98-yard kickoff return for a score that helped Chicago beat Minnesota Vikings 39-10.

 Gambling bust nabs 14 Islanders in Gambino crime family-controlled ring

Talk about predatory lending – authorities say they’ve busted a mob-run loansharking and gambling operation that forced its debtors to keep on betting the numbers as a condition of borrowing cash. Yesterday, the state attorney general’s office and the NYPD arrested 37 people – 14 of them from Staten Island – in connection with a Gambino crime family-controlled ring that brought in millions of dollars. Authorities dubbed their investigation “Operation Flat Rate,” and focused on three interconnected criminal enterprises – two illegal sports-gambling operations run through off-shore wire rooms, and a “policy operation” wherein people placed wagers on daily New York Lottery results, authorities allege. The sports-betting operations generated millions of dollars’ worth of wagers on college and professional sports, as well as horse races, said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

 Korat Business Woman Brutally Murdered at Cambodia Casino Hotel

“Jeh Hongyok” a well known transport business owner, money lender and   millionaire from Nakornratchasima was murdered in a casino hotel room in Cambodia. The murderer stole 3 million THB; the victims winnings from the casino. The corpse of Mrs.Chanatda was discovered with tied hands and legs and had been hit on the head was hit by a hard object and there were many stab wounds on the victims neck. The murderer had also put a plastic bag on the victims head. Upon investigation the police found that the deceased had more than 3 million THB in cash from gambling at the casino. There was no trace of the cash in the hotel room. The police assumes the motive for the killing was money.

 Caretaker’s Ex: Gambling Habit May Have Led to Theft

The former boyfriend of a caretaker accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a 90 year old Sun Valley man says her gambling habit may have triggered the theft. Investigators say 45 year old Sherry Crawford stole $119,000 from Onesty while acting as his caretaker for two years. Crawford, who says the two aren’t married, but share a daughter, said she admitted the theft to him. He told us he and rejected her when she told him what she had done. “I told her she couldn’t be with me, if she’d done such a thing,” said Crawford, who says he is now with a Christian life recovery group. Leaving Tennessee, she apparently went to family in Springfield, Missouri. She was arrested there this week and has now apparently waived extradition. She’s expected to be brought back to Reno later this month.

Casino-related crimes on the rise: Public prosecutor

Macau’s public prosecutions office says the number of casino-related cases is increasing. “There was a growth in the number of money-laundering cases connected with the gaming industry, mainly with illegal gambling in VIP rooms,” the public prosecutions office said today in a press release. During the first eight months of 2010, the number of money-laundering cases handled by the public prosecutions office soared by 40 percent year-on-year, the body said, without providing figures.  At the same time, illegal gambling and loan sharking cases went up by 6 percent, while those of extortion and fraud went up by 11 percent. According to the public prosecutions office, theft and robbery cases went up by 23 percent year-on-year from January to August, with a “significant increase” in the number of thefts taking place inside casinos or somehow related to the gaming industry.

Columbia S.C. Secret Service Take Down Two Online Gambling Processor Shells

The Sheriff’s Office in Greenville County South Carolina and the Secret Service have been investigating for months now two fake investment firms which were shell companies that allegedly hid illegal gambling revenue from foreign based online casinos which paid players in South Carolina in an amount that reached over $40 million allegedly. U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said the investigation led to the seizure of more than $2 million in laundered money which is tied to online poker.

Stolen $1m diamond ring sold in Thailand

A Melbourne man who stole a $1 million diamond ring from a jewellery store in a smash-and-grab burglary sold it in Thailand for just $300,000, a court has heard. George Georgiou, 32, formerly of Northcote, smashed the window of Hardy Brothers Jewellers in Melbourne’s CBD and plucked the 9.1-carat ring from the display on March 29, 2009. Mr Elston said Georgiou was also charged with stealing a unique diamond ring worth $26,885 from a stallholder at Melbourne’s Camberwell market on November 11, 2008. He said the stallholder had removed the 2.6-carat diamond ring from her finger to allow Georgiou a closer inspection, but when she turned to serve another client he fled with it while her eyes were averted. Ms Gleeson said Georgiou, a former stonemason, had a long criminal history of theft.  She said Georgiou claimed the offences were to fund a gambling problem.

Former South Korea football coach found dead

SEOUL: A former coach of South Korea’s military  football club was found dead on Wednesday in an apparent suicide related to his involvement in a major  match-fixing scandal this year, police said. Police said  Lee Soo-Cheol, 45, apparently hanged himself in his apartment home south of Seoul. He had led the Sangju Sangmu  Phoenix, a  K-League member, from October 2010 to July, when prosecutors charged 57 people — 46 current and former players and 11 criminal gang members and gambling brokers — for fixing 15 matches last year.

Woman jailed over $400,000 theft from Avoca winery

A GAMBLING addict was jailed yesterday after she poured almost half-a-million dollars into poker machines over a three-and-a-half year period ­— money she stole from a winery where she worked at the time. Jennifer Anne Berrigan, 53, from Avoca, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison after she exploited her position of maintaining the accounts and payments for Summerfield Wines. In total, she stole $422,750 from the family-owned business. The County Court in Ballarat yesterday heard that Berrigan had used the money to feed her gambling habit, almost exclusively pouring it into poker machines.

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

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