Daily Archives: May 15, 2012

A Brief Look at Crime 04/30 – 5/06

Man accused of killing roommate with roofing stapler

After dramatic testimony, a Miami County judge found probable cause that Donald R. Pepper beat James R. Wolf to death with a roofing stapler April 13 at their West Milton home. Police testified during a preliminary hearing Thursday that they found bloodied clothes and the roof stapler in an attic in the residence at 1177 Debron Road. They also found a life insurance policy on Wolf — naming Pepper as beneficiary — under Pepper’s mattress. A West Milton police officer said that Pepper confessed to the crime, hoped to get the death penalty and that Pepper said things “got out of control” because of his gambling habit. The officer testified Pepper said things got “out of control” and that he had a “gambling habit.” The officer also testified that Pepper said he used a roofing stapler to hit Wolf while wearing gloves because it would be “messy.”

Pigeon racing a multimillion, illegal enterprise

Pigeon racing, long considered a harmless hobby, fosters $15 million a year in illegal gambling nationwide and kills thousands of birds, an animal rights group charged after a 15-month investigation. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will on Monday present to 17 law enforcement agencies — including the FBI and NYPD — hundreds of pages of evidence of what its lawyers say are illegalities in pigeon racing. The group, which has detailed video and audio recordings from its undercover probe, asserts that only 40% of pigeons that are raced survive the ordeal. PETA probed pigeon racing in multiple states and attended races in Oklahoma and Phoenix that were organized by the American Racing Pigeon Union, a national umbrella group that declined comment for this story. “There was just constant gambling going on,” an investigator said, asking — like all PETA’s probers did — to remain anonymous because undercover work continues. “It’s pretty flagrant.”

Poker defendant pleads guilty

One of two men nearing trial in a case that shut down U.S. operations for three Internet poker companies has pleaded guilty to charges in U.S. District Court. Chad Elie pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and operating an illegal gambling business on Monday. He faces between six months to a year in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3. The plea came as the money processor was scheduled to go to trial on April 9, along with former bank executive John Campos.  On Tuesday, Campos reached a deal to plead to a single misdemeanor charge, Forbes magazine reported on its website, citing three sources familiar with the situation. Both men had had asserted their innocence.  Elie and Campos were the only men headed to trial after others among eleven people charged in the Internet gambling case reached plea agreements or remained fugitives. Prosecutors have sought $3 billion in money laundering penalties and forfeiture after targeting three companies based overseas: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. Full Tilt defended its executives.

68 arrested in cockfighting operation

Sixty-eight people were arrested and $20,000 was seized over the weekend when members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Rural Crimes Task Force broke up a cockfighting operation in Hesperia, officials said Monday. Daniel Urena of La Puente was identified as the event coordinator and owner of the property located in the 14000 block of Summit Valley Road. Investigators also seized a total of 63 fighting roosters from the property. Five of them were being held Monday at the Devore Animal Shelter, according to David Wert, spokesman for San Bernardino County. “Fourteen of the birds were deceased when we arrived at the property,” said Greg Becks, program manager with county Animal Care and Control. “The rest were euthanized. These birds are not able to be rehabilitated.” Authorities also recovered $20,000 in gambling money.

 Man jailed over decade-old fraud

A compulsive gambler has been sentenced for stealing more than $290,000 from WorkCover Queensland more than 10 years ago. Martin Bruce Stoddard, 40, pleaded guilty in the District Court in Brisbane on Thursday to dishonestly inducing Workcover Queensland to deliver money to a co-offender. Stoddard was working as a case manager for the government compensation body between April 2001 and January 2002 when the offence occurred. The court was told he arranged for the co-offender to be paid out for claims. His co-offender kept around $15,000 for himself as payment for funnelling the stolen money back to Stoddard. The court heard that the pair fleeced $294,189 from WorkCover through their scheme. Stoddard received at least $180,000.

Italian Mafia Bosses Indicted Over Illegal Gambling

In a recent indictment, two New York metro mafia bosses have been indicted under numerous charges related to illegal gambling and sports betting, racketeering, violence, collection of unlawful and usurious gambling debts, extortion, and other felonies. Capo di tutti capi (the boss of the bosses), as the Italian mobsters like to call their godfather, is not happy as his two henchmen face trial. As many know, those who dare to speak up against the mafia face punishment. In fact, one additional charge includes witness tampering. Many victims are unlikely to speak up during the trial, worried about having their legs cemented to a bathtub and being thrown off George Washington Bridge into Hudson River. After talking to a Brooklyn gangster, many witnesses lose memory. Some of the desperados, as rumors claim, have gotten themselves into trouble with mafia after being drunk, drugged, and finding themselves at mafia casinos in expectations of getting some subsidized crack and hookers while playing  rigged blackjack where it is not possible to win.

Ex-employee charged in theft of $525,000

Once a trusted staff member, the former business manager for Gesu Parish was criminally charged in U.S. District in Toledo on Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than $525,000 from the parish. Patricia Ann Stanz, 61, of Toledo was charged with one count each of counterfeit securities and fraudulent use of access device. She was employed as the parish business manager from August, 2007, to August, 2011. According to court documents, Ms. Stanz is accused of creating and signing 97 checks totaling about $295,000 that she then cashed from the Gesu Parish checking account. It is further alleged that she fraudulently used a credit card issued to Gesu Parish to obtain $230,757 in cash advances and purchases. Ms. Stanz allegedly used the money for gambling as well as other unauthorized personal expenses, Mr. Collins said. Being the church’s business manager, she would then write checks on the parish account to pay the bills.

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