A Brief Look at Crime 01/30 – 02/05

Six Crime Family Suspects Arrested

Federal investigators during an early-morning sweep Friday arrested five alleged members of a prominent crime organization, including the purported acting boss, and charged them with racketeering, extortion and drug dealing. Vincent Badalamenti, who is said to go by the moniker “Vinny TV,” was the highest-ranking person arrested, according to court papers unsealed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Authorities described the 53-year-old as the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family. Three others were said to be captains in the organization and a fifth was named a soldier, officials said. All five face charges of racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling and conspiring to distribute marijuana, officials said. A sixth man, described as an associate of the Gambino crime family, was also arrested in Friday’s sweep and charged with loan-sharking, according to federal prosecutors.

Defendant in Alabama Gambling Trial Found Dead

The gambling industry was abuzz with news today that the defendant in a controversial Alabama gambling case was found dead in his home on Sunday. Joseph “Ray” Crosby was set to stand trial in a reopened case beginning on Monday, and police are not disclosing any information about the cause of his death just yet.

Crosby served as an attorney and an analyst with Alabama Legislative Reference Service and was accused, along with ten other defendants, of being involved in a scheme where casino owners in the state allegedly bribed legislators to give their backing to gambling reforms. During the first trial, Crosby went through a difficult divorce, and he often had his adult children in court with him to offer support. In the months following his indictment, Crosby resigned from his job at the Legislative Reference Service.

Wis. woman gets 5 yrs for theft from blood center

A Neenah woman convicted of embezzling about $500,000 from the Community Blood Center in Grand Chute has been sentenced to five years in prison. Tina M. Jacobsen was also ordered Monday to pay restitution of about $3,500 per month for 13 years. The 50-year-old was convicted of three counts of felony theft from the blood center, which supplies blood to 18 hospitals in Wisconsin and Michigan.  Judge Mark McGinnis told Jacobsen she was “ripping off the community.” Before sentencing, Jacobsen said she used the money to feed a gambling addiction.

 Calgary woman who chopped up roommate seeks unescorted passes from jail

Calgary woman convicted of chopping her roommate to death with an axe and concealing dismembered body parts in boxes is going before the National Parole Board on Wednesday. Deborah Point was sentenced to life with no chance for parole for 20 years after being convicted of second-degree murder for the 1999 slaying of friend Audrey Trudeau. During Point’s Court of Queen’s Bench jury trial, it was said Trudeau discovered Point had drained $5,000 worth of cheques from her bank account. It ended with 15 crushing blows to Trudeau’s head the night of Feb. 25, 1999. The body parts were packed in boxes sealed with duct taped and stored in a friend’s garage on 33rd Avenue S.W. They weren’t found for nearly five months. Point admitted stealing her friend’s money to feed an out-of-control VLT gambling addiction.

Woman sentenced for embezzling more than $60,000

A 49-year-old Manitowoc woman will spend three months in jail for embezzling more than $60,000 from Hobby Lobby while employed at the Manitowoc store. Manitowoc County Circuit Court Judge Jerome Fox withheld the sentence for Tracy C. Begley on Thursday and placed her on five years of probation. Conditions of probation include spending three months in jail starting March 27. Begley also was ordered to pay $64,724 in restitution to Hobby Lobby, to write a letter of apology and to refrain from gambling.

Two women accused of stealing $1 million each from two archdioceses

Employees of the New York and Philadelphia archdioceses are accused of stealing $1 million each in church funds over the past decade. Collins was arraigned Jan. 30 on criminal charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records and ordered held on $750,000 bail. She faces a possible jail sentence of up to 25 years. Both archdioceses were said to be cooperating with the local investigations and reviewing their internal financial oversight procedures. “Sadly, there will always be individuals who seek to exploit and circumvent whatever system is established, but we will remain vigilant in our oversight,” Zwilling said. In the Philadelphia case, Guzzardi’s alleged embezzlement was uncovered when a fraud investigator for American Express reported to the archdiocese that the woman had been paying off gambling debts to the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, N.J., with archdiocesan funds.

Son’s gambling addiction lead to theft: court

A Far South Coast mother stole more than $1.1 million from her employers, using every cent of the  funds to feed her son’s crippling gambling addiction, Wollongong District Court heard yesterday. Diane Felkin spent nearly seven years defrauding a Batemans Bay car dealership, transferring funds into her own accounts before handing it over to her son, who spent it at casinos and online gaming sites. The 61-year-old made more than 100 unauthorised transactions while working at Batemans Bay Motors, covering the missing money with references to non-existent vehicle pay-outs, staff holiday pay and bonuses, loans and purported transfers to the Australian Taxation Office, the court was told yesterday.

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