A Brief Look at Crime 05/14 – 4/20

Ex-property manager pleads guilty to theft

The former property manager of an Aventura condo association pleads guilty after being accused of stealing nearly $500,000 from the association. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Friday that Lourdes Rodriguez, 49, was sentenced to state prison after her plea Thursday.  Prosecutors said Rodriguez was the manager at the Atlantic II at the Point Condominium, and she opened credit cards in its name and made personal charges, including what appeared to be withdrawals for gambling. After negotiating a plea with the court, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to first-degree grand theft. She was sentenced to 21 months in state prison and must pay restitution in the amount of the unauthorized transactions.

 Daniel Maoz takes witness stand, denies murder

Daniel Maoz, the 28-year-old lawyer suspected of murdering his parents in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot last August, took the witness stand for the first time on Monday in the Jerusalem District Court and continued to proclaim that his twin brother Nir is responsible for the murders. Daniel Maoz was arrested a month after the murders and has spent the last six months in prison. State prosecutors have built a strong case against Daniel Maoz, including the fact that Maoz had a gambling addiction and was hundreds of thousands of shekels in debt, an addiction Maoz confirmed on Monday. Additionally, Daniel Maoz showed up at a friends’ apartment to gamble the night of the murders disheveled, nervous, and in blood-spattered clothes.

 Eastlake man gets 18 years for his role in collapse of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union

Koljo Nikolovski squandered $5.8 million on fast cars and gambling, and caused the ruin of the $238 million St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union in Eastlake, prosecutors said Friday.  But Nikolovski thought he should only spend about three years in prison for his crimes of bank fraud, bribery and money-laundering.  U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko thought differently, and on Friday sentenced the Eastlake resident to 18 years in a federal prison.  Boyko painted Nikolovski, 49, as a thug, a hustler and a bully who never held a job his entire life, but intimidated at least nine others into helping him obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent loans from the credit union. He paid the unsuspecting borrowers $5,000 each for their help.

 Longview woman sentenced for credit union embezzlement

A former Longview credit union employee was sentenced to 90 days in jail Tuesday for embezzling $120,000 out of the union’s vault to fund her gambling habit. Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning said he wished he could have given Roxane Justine Ramey, 55, of Longview more jail time, but his “hands were tied” by sentencing guidelines set by the Legislature.  Ramey, who was in charge of the vault at Cowlitz Credit Union in Longview, admitted earlier this month to stealing $120,000 between July 1, 2010, and Dec. 2, 2011. Police said she and her husband, Ervin (Ron) Ramey appear to have gambled away most of the money, racking up nearly $112,000 in losses at the Lucky Eagle Casino near Rochester.  Credit union officials discovered the money was missing in early December and hired an accountant to conduct a forensic audit, which confirmed that $120,000 was missing.

 Treasurer of Hudson ironworkers local gets 30 months for embezzling $560,000

The former secretary treasurer of Jersey City-based Local 45 of the International Association Of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers was sentenced today to 30 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $560,000 from the union to help feed a gambling addiction. From January 2009 through September 2010, Kearney admitted in court, he withdrew roughly $471,000 in cash directly from the local’s Bank of America general fund account.

Former Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Almost $500K

A former Colorado Springs bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to felony theft and forgery. Christina Bratcher faces 12 years in prison for embezzling almost $500,000 from Colorado Welding Supply, a family-owned company.  Authorities say her crime helped drive the mother-and-son operated company out of business.  The owners learned of the embezzlement when they had to file for bankruptcy last year. “I trusted her,” former co-owner of the business Eric Younger told 11 News. “I knew her father from before I opened that business.”  The company says they thought their financial woes were due to the economy, and used their own savings when the company started hemorrhaging money.  They were left with serious debt; Younger became a truck driver to keep his family afloat. Court documents show that she was using some of the money for online gambling.

 Counselor who stole gets six-year sentence

The woman who earned their trust and then turned around and betrayed it is going to federal prison. Lori J. Macakanja, the former West Side housing counselor who stole from clients and then gambled away their money, was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison. Macakanja admitted stealing nearly $300,000 from 136 people who came to her looking for help. Many of them were on the verge of losing their homes to foreclosure. “I’m full of shame,” Macakanja, her voice cracking with emotion, said in court Thursday. “I’ll spend the rest of my life regretting my poor judgment and poor choices.” “She lied, she schemed, she cheated, and then she gambled away the money she stole,” Trini E. Ross, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, told Arcara.

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

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