A Brief Look at Crime 04/02 – 4/08

Murder/suicide came after man lost $200,000 at casinos

The 55-year-old man who is believed to have murdered his 50-year-old partner before turning a knife on himself, lost nearly $200,000 in a little more than a day before their bodies were discovered by police in a Richmond, B.C. hotel room more than a year ago. A coroner’s report obtained by The Richmond Review sheds new light on what factors may have precipitated the murder/suicide at the Hampton Inn on Jan. 8, 2011. The report details the investigation into the deaths of Chin Yao Hu and his female companion, Miao Zhen Chen, with whom he frequently gambled at local casinos. According to the report, Hu borrowed $200,000 from a famly member on the afternoon of Jan. 6, promising to repay the money in two days and letting the family member know he was planning to gamble. “That same family member received a call from Mr. Hu around midnight on the 7th of January, advising that he had lost approximately $100,000 of the money he had borrowed,” the report said.

 Gambling addiction leads to 72 fraud charges

A woman who stole more than $200,000 from her employer did it to feed a gambling addiction, police allege. From February 2009 to May 2010, Wendy Colleen James, of Gavin Way, Lake Haven stole a total of $215,042.60 from her employer – Marlborough Medical Service Pty, which trades as Good Health Green Hills.  James, 54, pleaded guilty to 72 charges of obtaining money by deception while working as practice manager for the Maitland doctor surgery. The theft was uncovered by an accountant who was hired by the company director to examine its accounts. During interviews with the investigating officer James admitted guilt and showed remorse for her actions.

‘Hanged suspect had gambling addiction’

THE 50-year old man who killed himself last Tuesday as police were close to arresting him on suspicion of carrying out two armed robberies reportedly left a suicide note to his father confessing his gambling addiction, it emerged yesterday. According to yesterday’s Politis, the man left a note before hanging himself, calling on his father to look after his children. The 50-year-old reportedly told his father that due to his gambling addiction, he had amassed huge debts that he could not pay off. The man is believed to have carried out two armed bank robberies in Nicosia, one at gunpoint, the other with a knife — on December 2 and January 29 – getting away with some €10,500.  He wore sunglasses and a leather jacket during the robberies, making no other effort to cover his face. 

 Local priest sentenced to prison time

A local priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a parishioner. The victim put him on a pedestal as high as the ceiling.  But he didn’t deserve to be there.  Michael Angeloni is accused of stealing more than $300,000 from a parishioner and from collection plates. The state argued the punishment must fit the crime-a massive betrayal of community trust.  And that’s why Superior Court Judge Diane Streett sentenced Angeloni to 10 years behind bars, suspended after one year.  Angeloni admits he has a severe gambling addiction and has lost almost everything because of it.  The money he stole from his 86-year-old victim was meant to save his home from a sheriff’s sale, but instead was wasted, gambling at Delaware Park.  

 Former York Symphony Orchestra employee pleads guilty to stealing $200,000

The York Symphony Orchestra’s former office manager pleaded guilty this morning to stealing more than $200,000 from the organization to support her gambling addiction. Phyllis Ann Shoff, 55, pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception and access-device fraud.  With an audit of the orchestra’s funds under way, York City Police charged Shoff in August with taking roughly $58,000 during a four-year period. Police filed additional charges Dec. 6, citing another almost $150,000 that was taken and stating that the thefts began in 2004. In an interview with Follmer on Aug. 11,  Shoff “admitted that she had stolen money belonging to the YSO, saying only that she had a gambling problem and she didn’t realize the extent of her problem,” according to charging documents.

 Bookmaker Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering

A man accused of running a large-scale, illegal sports betting operation pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New Haven Monday to one count of money laundering. Federal prosecutors said that, between 2006 and 2009, Paul J. Graziano, 45, of Burlington, ran an extensive illegal gambling business in which other bookmakers, with their own networks of customers, reported to him. Investigators, who are withholding many details of the operation, said Graziano used two Internet betting websites in his operation and paid commissions to bookmakers who worked for him, to cover their losses or to reward them for finding new customers. Between 2006 and 2009, federal authorities said Graziano was responsible for the deposit of 26 checks worth more than $500,000 into accounts he controlled. The money represented payments for gambling losses, prosecutors said.

 Credit union employee stole $250,000

30-year-old Central City woman is suspected of stealing more than $250,000 from a Black Hawk credit union.  Autumn Rene Guillot, who worked for the  Credit Union of the Rockies,   allegedly stole the money a little at a time by taking cash from a vault and altering ledgers, according to a Gilpin  County District Attorney’s Office media release. Guillot was one of two employees at the small branch office. Bank officials became suspicious in November 2011 when an unannounced spot audit uncovered discrepancies in the ledger. Guillot was a regular gambler at Gilpin County casinos, according to an  arrest affidavit, and she lost big —  $73,000 —  in 2011.

 Former Chief Financial Officer of Irvine Technical Firm Arrested Upon Entering the U.S. for Embezzling $16 Million from Employer

A former chief finanancial officer for an Irvine-based company was ordered to be returned to California after being arrested for embezzling approximately $16 million from his employer, announced Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; and André Birotte, Jr, the United States Attorney in Los Angeles. The complaint further alleges that Ibrahim telephonically contacted company executives after the fraud was discovered. At that time, Ibrahim acknowledged that he made the unauthorized transfers and that the money was spent on gambling and personal expenses. Ibrahim advised that he was prepared to return a portion of the money if company executives did not report him to law enforcement and did not sue him for the money.

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

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