A Brief Look at Crime 05/21 – 5/27

Gambler gets death for murdering children

A gambling addict received the death penalty Thursday for murdering two kids in Beijing last year. The Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court also stripped Wen Quan, 43, of his political rights for life and ordered him to hand over 1.4 million yuan (221,293 U.S. dollars) in compensation to the victims’ families. The court found that Wen kidnapped a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl from his community in Xicheng district on May 21, 2011. He suffocated them to death on separate occasions and dumped their bodies.

The jobless Wen confessed that he was angry after loosing 2 million yuan of his life-savings through gambling online. He was envious of his neighbors as he considered their lives better than his, and decided to murder the two children next door before killing his own son and committing suicide. He said that on the day of the murder he gambled online again but lost another 300,000 yuan. He killed the two children as he planned, but did not have the heart to kill his own son, he said.

Bail set at $200,000 for former bookkeeper in embezzlement case

A judge on Friday reduced bail to $200,000 for a former bookkeeper of a Vancouver building trade magazine accused of embezzling more than $500,000 from the business. Long, former bookkeeper of BuilderNews Magazine, pleaded not guilty at a Wednesday hearing to 10 counts of first-degree identity theft and one count of second-degree theft. Prosecutors allege that Long stole money from the magazine’s publisher over a course of five years. Vancouver police launched a 10-month investigation in July 2011 after publisher Denise Curry-Rothwell alerted them to the alleged thefts. The substantial monetary loss forced the magazine, in business for 15 years to close in December,  Curry-Rothwell has said. “She put nine people out of work last December,” Bryant said. Bryant said there are allegations Long stole from a previous employer. The defendant has a gambling problem, Bryant said, adding that she believes the woman is a risk to the community should she be released on bail.

Judge Allows Freeze on $28 Million Linked To Alleged Gambling Scheme

A federal judge granted prosecutors’ request last week to continue a freeze on $28 million in Miami-based assets belonging to three companies allegedly linked to an illegal gambling operation in the Dutch Caribbean. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly froze the funds in August at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prosecutors said that the $28 million in UBS investment accounts in Miami belonged to three offshore companies controlled by Robertico Alejandro dos Santos, who is the subject of a three-year investigation by Curacao authorities into allegations of money laundering, tax fraud and forgery.

But the freeze became complicated when the Curaçao Court of First Instance ruled in April that the funds could not “be restrained.” Lawyers for the three companies—Ponsford Overseas Ltd., Carribean Investment Group Ltd., and Tula Finance Ltd — asked Kollar-Kotelly to lift the restraining order on the funds that month. On Thursday, Kollar-Kotelly said because the Curcao court had also recently issued a new order authorizing a freeze on the three UBS accounts on different grounds, she would grant the Justice Department’s request to restrain the funds.

 Police say duo botches Las Vegas casino heist

A hapless bandit lost his wig, sunglasses and $115,000 worth of casino chips when security wrestled him to the floor during a botched weekend heist at a posh Vegas Strip resort, authorities said Monday. Two men attempted to rob the Bellagio on Saturday night by spraying a blackjack dealer and others with a caustic eye-burning chemical, police said. With the distraction in the air, Michael Q. Belton snatched up nearly two dozen high-value chips and took off for the door, according to a police report. The man who sprayed the noxious gas escaped, but Belton was tackled to the floor and held until police arrived. Belton struggled at first, according to the police arrest report, but then suddenly stopped fighting back against casino employees and surrendered.

 Donvale woman spared jail over gambling-fuelled thefts

A DONVALE woman who stole $137,717 from her employer to fund her gambling addiction has avoided jail on condition she repay the entire amount. Rebecca Cave, 37, was convicted of theft in Melbourne Magistrates Court last week. She was given a six-month suspended sentence on a good behaviour bond and ordered to repay the money within five years. Cave is also required to continue attending Gamblers Anonymous, continue counselling and obey her psychologist’s instructions regarding treatment or medication. Prosecutor Julian Ayres said Cave was employed by food hygiene company Sanikleen as an office manager and was the only employee authorised to make payments to creditors.

 Huyton teenager admits slashing throat of Sri Lankan shopkeeper

A MURDER trial was shown shocking CCTV footage of a shopkeeper being stabbed in the throat by a Merseyside teenager. Gambling addict Sam Harrison, 18, killed Mahesh Wickramasingha by slashing his jugular vein with a fishing knife in what he claimed was a robbery gone wrong. Jurors heard he then fled on his mountain bike, leaving Mr Wickramasingha, 30, to bleed to death at Stanley News, in Kingsway, Huyton, where he worked.

The colour images, taken at three frames per second, showed the victim stacking shelves with his back to the door at 9pm on November 29 last year. Harrison was seen to walk in with the knife in his right hand and plunge it into the shopkeeper’s throat after a brief struggle. Blood then splashed onto the floor before Mr Wickramasingha collapsed and Harrison fled without any cash. He told jurors that Harrison, who lived with his mum in Salerno Drive just yards from the shop, was a gambling addict who regularly went to the Betfred shop next door to Stanley News. Despite being a student at nearby Knowsley Community College with no income, he was caught on camera spending £240 on fixed-odds betting machines in just 15 minutes.

 3 area men among 13 facing racketeering charges in connection with organized crime

Three men from Monmouth and Ocean counties were among 13 charged Tuesday with racketeering conspiracy in connection with an illegal online gambling operation headed by organized crime, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. According to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday morning in federal court, the three local men — John Breheney, 47, and Salvatore Turchio, 44, both of Little Egg Harbor, and Michael O’Donnell, 48, of Wall — were among 12 members of the Lascala Crew, which was operating in connection with the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra. That crime family worked through smaller groups sometimes referred to as crews that operated in northern New Jersey and elsewhere, according to the complaint. The racketeering conspiracy charges against the 13 carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The defendants made their initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark S. Falk.

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