A Brief Look at Crime 01/22 – 01/29

Sick Children Ripped Off By Gambling Loser

There seems to be no stop for people addicted to gambling. Financial executives, priests, and charity directors are among those caught stealing money from entrusted sources. According to casino gambling news, the latest crook caught is a charity man. Sean T., 53, a charity director from Kansas City, was responsible for running a non-profit organization that supported children and other sick people suffering from epilepsy. While pursuing a losing casino strategy, it is alleged that the man lost well over $70,000. Once caught, the man quickly disappeared from the non-profit charity, leaving the epilepsy ridden children with decimated coffers.

Illegal gambling operation probe stretches from Goodyear to Phoenix and into California

From an indoor golf facility to a Phoenix card room, city, state and federal investigators say they have busted an illegal gambling operation that brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. The most recent move made by Goodyear detectives took them to Carlsbad, Calif. where they searched the home of a former Valley resident. According to detectives, it all started about four months ago when a resident complained to the Goodyear City Council about late night, illegal card games. The information led investigators to the Bunker Indoor Golf & Training Facility, according to city officials. “They (indoor golf facility) had a whole other business going on there and then we found out they had a night-life going on there where this illegal gambling was going on,” said Goodyear Lt. Jason DeHaan. “This is something where there were a lot of tentacles and a tremendous amount of investigating to track all of this information down,” said DeHaan.  “I think it may be the first major illegal gambling investigation many in this department have been involved with.”

Woman pleads guilty to embezzling almost $300,000 from Metairie real estate company and owner

A Baton Rouge woman pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to stealing almost $300,000 from a Metairie real estate company and its owner. Susan Fonte, 57, appeared before U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said. Fonte served as a bookkeeper for the Metairie company between 2005 and 2010, when the thefts were uncovered, according to court records. She maintained the business’ financial records and paid small bills. But in 2010, the owner discovered that Fonte had been stealing money from a personal checking account that he shared with his mother, court records said. He hired a forensic accountant who confirmed the embezzlement. Fonte admitted to the theft when interviewed by special agents. She said she took the money to feed her gambling habit, court records said.

Former booster club treasurer faces theft charge

Trial information was filed Monday, Jan. 23, in the case of a former bank employee who has been charged with stealing nearly $30,000 from the Clarinda Booster Club. Cynthia Ann Gerdts of Clarinda will be arraigned at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in Page County District Court on one count of first-degree theft, a Class C felony. She made her initial appearance on the charge Wednesday, Dec. 28, before magistrate judge James J. Nye.  According to court documents, between April of 2008 and October of 2011, Gerdts is alleged to have stolen $29,721.56 from the booster club. At the time, she was employed by Page County Federal Savings Association while also serving as treasurer of the club. According to a statement by investigating officer Jesse Hitt of the Clarinda Police Department, Gerdts admitted to taking money from the booster club’s account for personal reasons. Court documents, including a statement by booster club president Lee “Pete” Stansbury, indicate the money was taken to cover debts incurred due to a gam-bling addiction.

Gambling Machine Maker To Pay $375K Fine

A gambling machine supplier has agreed to pay $375,000 to Missouri for not telling regulatory officials about actions taken against it in Alabama related to electronic bingo games. The settlement between International Game Technology and the Missouri Gaming Commission was released Thursday by the agency. It says the Las Vegas-based company violated Missouri regulations by not promptly informing the agency of several actions related to a crackdown on electronic bingo games in Alabama.  The settlement cites the company’s receipt of a federal subpoena in June 2008, a letter it received from Alabama’s governor in January 2009, the seizure of a bingo machine from a gambling center in June 2010 and an attempted raid at another gambling site.

Thieving priest deserves to be treated like any other criminal

The thieving, gambling monsignor who stole $650,000, mostly from his church’s votive candle fund, has his supporters who want him to receive probation Friday. [T]he U.S. Department of Probation recommends he spend 33 months in prison, which is the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines. The high end would be 41 months. U.S. District Judge James Mahan won’t be bound by the probation recommendation when he sentences Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe at 10 a.m. Friday. He can show leniency. Or not. McAuliffe’s attorney, Margaret Stanish, has an uphill battle when she argues his gambling addiction and his mental disorders and depression are reason to give him clemency. She’s arguing for probation, so he can stay an active priest and help other gambling addicts. Why should an addicted priest get a pass from prison when other gambling addicts don’t? That’s unfair. Nevada federal judges haven’t been forgiving with others who steal because they want to gamble with money that’s not theirs, partly because sentencing guidelines say gambling addiction is no reason for a judge to reduce a sentence.

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