A Brief Look at Crime 11/07 – 11/13

Couple dead in murder-suicide

Police confirmed Sunday the deaths were a case of murder-suicide. While the homicide unit’s Staff Sergeant Ian Matthews said he would not discuss the nature of the injures and what weapon was used out of respect for the family, Hamilton EMS reported tending to traumatic injuries believed to be due to stabbing for both patients. The 15-year-old son was in the house when the altercation occurred. Neighbours say the two older daughters are university students in their 20s and at least one of them is attending McMaster University. The children were in the care of a relative over the weekend, Matthews said. Phu Pham, who worked with Huynh for about seven years at the National Steel Car in Hamilton, said Huynh was laid off from his position as a welder about two years ago.  He often ran into Huynh at the Tim Hortons on Cannon Street near Bay Street and his former co-worker would mention fights with his wife over the money they lost at casinos, Pham said. “When they make some money, they go (to the casino),” the 55-year-old said. “In one game — two minutes — (he would play) $100. Easy.”

Damian Karlik convicted in murder of former boss’ family that rocked Israel

The Petah Tikva District Court on Monday convicted Damian Karlik of murdering six members of the Osherenko family in Rishon Letzion two years ago. Karlik was also convicted of conspiracy to murder, theft, and arson. In 2009, 32-year-old Dmitry Oshrenko, his 28-year-old wife Tatiana, and their children Revital, 3, and Netanel, aged four months, were found dead in their Rishon Letzion apartment along with grandparents, Edward and Ludmilla, both 56. Five of the six victims had sustained stab wounds.  Karlik, whom the police say is a compulsive gambler, spent huge amounts of money at gambling venues and allegedly began to plan his revenge on Osherenko four months ago with his wife Natalya, who was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 years in prison in a plea bargain.     

Neenah woman pleads no contest to $500,000 embezzlement

A Neenah woman pleads no contest to charges she stole nearly $500,000 from her employer.  50-year-old Tina Jacobsen admitted to three counts of embezzlement from the Community Blood Center in Grand Chute.  Two other charges were dropped, but could be considered at her sentencing.  Prosecutors say Jacobsen blew most of the money on gambling.  Blood center officials say they found discrepancies in their records and investigators found forged expense reimbursements.

Woman pleads guilty to stealing from employer   

A former employee of a Los Alamos physical therapy practice pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement and tax evasion, according to a report from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. Rebecca Serrano, also known as Becky Serrano, of Española, was ordered to pay nearly $165,000 in restitution and back taxes by State District Judge Michael Vigil. Serrano is a former employee of Jemez Physical Therapy. She pled guilty to stealing $160,000 to support her gambling addiction, according to Taxation and Revenue officials. Judge Vigil placed her on five years’ probation and ordered her to stay away from casinos or gaming establishments, and to seek counseling for gambling addiction.

Nun, 63, spared jail time for $850G theft from Iona

A nun who stole more than $850,000 from Iona College to fund a gambling addiction while she was in charge of the school’s finances was spared incarceration today and ordered to perform 2,000 hours of community service. At her sentencing in Manhattan federal court, Sister Marie Thornton, 63, said she was deeply sorry for her crime and for the embarrassment she caused her religious order, family and friends. “Somehow the words ‘I’m sorry’ fall short,” she told U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. “They don’t convey the gut-wrenching sorrow I feel all day, every day.” Sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of 2 1/2 to 3 years and Cohen argued for some incarceration, calling Thornton’s crime an “ongoing, systematic, very extensive fraud.” The judge, however, said it appeared Thornton had been rehabilitated through extensive treatment for her addiction and that she has already been punished enough by the strict oversight she must endure from her religious order in Philadelphia.

Rosemount Man Involved in Extortion Scheme Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

A Rosemount man who pleaded guilty last spring to coercion in an extortion plot that ended with the suicide of a Bloomington man pleaded guilty this week to failing to pay taxes on almost $300,000 that he earned gambling at a Minnesota casino. Rickey Eugene Pouncil, 47, was sentenced in August to 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to coercion in the extortion case. He was sentenced this week to six months on the tax charges, which will run concurrently with his sentence at the prison in Faribault. Pouncil, who spent more than $2 million at Mystic Lake casino between 2004 and 2008, was charged with five counts of failing to file tax returns for those years, all gross misdemeanors. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, a sixth felony charge was dismissed.

 Estero bookkeeper accused of bilking $100,000 from business

An Estero bookkeeper is accused of taking over $100,000 from his employer’s bank accounts. According to a Lee County Court affidavit, Gryska’s employer, Judy Ann Haataja of Tri Power Vacation Rentals, filed a complaint against him on March 10. In the complaint she claims Gryska wrote checks from the company’s Florida Gulf Bank accounts, totaling $101,180.82, for his personal use. Gryska sent Haataja several emails begging her to reconsider having him arrested. He claims to have gambling and alcohol problems.

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

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