A Brief Look at Crime 05/07 – 5/13

Arrests Made In Two Illegal Gambling Operations

A South Florida meat market was apparently selling much more than hamburgers and chops. It was involved in an illegal gambling operation, according to BSO. Two people were arrested Monday after the Broward County Money Laundering Task Force served multiple search warrants at the Santiago Meat Market, located at 5730 Hallandale Beach Boulevard in West Park, said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella. Another location was also shut down in Miramar, located at 2713 SW 64th Avenue. According to investigators, the illegal gambling operation ran just like a Las Vegas sports book. Customers would place their bets with a cashier who was behind bullet proof glass. The operation ran for more than a year but BSO began investigating six months ago following a tip. Investigators said on good days, the operation brought in about $25,000 a day.

Betting shop owner gunned down

A 45-year-old man was gunned down yesterday outside his Nicosia betting shop, which had been checked a couple of hours earlier by the police. Neophytos Christoforou died later while undergoing emergency surgery for gun shot wounds to the head and body. Two other people who were close to the victim sustained light injuries during the 2am incident at the betting shop near the Ayios Antonios municipal market, police said. Christoforou was shot by two individuals riding a large motorcycle, using an automatic weapon. The establishment had been checked by officers a couple of hours earlier as part of a police crackdown on illegal gambling. Daily Politis reported that the victim seemed to have differences with other individuals over online gambling. The police are trying to prevent a war between people involved in this activity since it appears that yesterday’s murder is connected to past crimes, Politis said.

 Baierl Acura embezzler who stole $10.2 million could face six years in prison

The former controller of Baierl Acura in Pine stole $10.2 million over more than six years and lived a life of luxury and extreme generosity while earning an official salary of about $53,000. Mr. Kaufman wrote that Ms. Smith’s crime, termed wire fraud, only ended after another Baierl employee sent her an email asking questions about transactions that showed that she was about to be caught. He noted that Ms. Smith transferred money from Baierl to her own accounts more than 800 times from 2004 through 2011, calling it “among the most egregious white collar crimes prosecuted in the Western District of Pennsylvania in recent memory.” She and a family member also gambled away much of the money, he wrote. The government expects to be able to recover around $1 million for Baierl, he wrote. Federal guidelines for someone with no prior criminal record who admits to committing a $10 million fraud call for 63 to 78 months in prison, according to Mr. Kaufman’s memorandum.

 Michigan mother gambles $650k of company money away

A woman from Westland said a gambling addiction led her to spend $10,000 a night at slot machines, using money she stole from her bosses business account.  Lauri Caruso, 39, used to work at International Door in Canton as an accounts bookkeeper. She has a five-year-old daughter and by all accounts looks like any other suburban mom.  However, what started as casual gambling led to her becoming a regular in high roller rooms, betting and losing up to $10,000 a day.  Caruso’s game of choice was the one-armed bandit, otherwise known as the slot machine where she gambled, and lost more than $650,000—hundreds of thousands of dollars that was someone else’s money.  Caruso would use company credit cards to embezzle the money from her company. As a bookkeeper and mail room operator, she was able to conceal the theft from her bosses until the amounts were staggering. After an audit, Caruso was fired.

 Contractor gets 8 years in fraud case

A Cranston contractor has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison after taking millions from investors in an elaborate fraud scheme. Mario Perretta, owner of M&M Ironworks in Providence, pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors say he bilked nearly $4.3 million from 23 investors. Perretta confessed he had promised inventors high rates of return on investments in projects that did not exist. Among the projects he claimed his company was involved in included the construction of a YMCA on Martha’s Vineyard, and a construction job at Foxwoods. Perretta admitted he had an attorney draft promissory notes for investors which falsely promised a high rate of return on their money; around 12-14%. Instead he spent most of the money to feed a gambling habit and on other personal expenses.

 Former Whaling Commission Head Pleads Guilty to Theft, Money Laundering, and Misapplication of Funds

The former Executive Director of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, who was charged with embezzling $475,000 from the organization, pled guilty to two counts of theft, a count of misapplication of funds, as well as a count of money laundering in Federal court yesterday. The former Executive Director of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, who was charged with embezzling $475,000 from the organization, pled guilty to two counts of theft, a count of misapplication of funds, as well as a count of money laundering in Federal court yesterday.

Man jumps to death after killing wife in front of daughter in Xiamen

A man jumped to his death after killing his wife in Xiamen on 7th May, reports Xiamen Daily. On the early morning of 7th May, the man jumped off an eighteen-story building in Guankou town of Jimei District after killing his wife in the presence of their 12-year-old daughter. The man hailing from Jiangxi, who was out of work some time ago, stabbed his wife to death after a fierce quarrel, according to an insider. Some neighbors said that the man killed his wife for her gambling addiction.

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

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