A Brooklyn Park, Minn., woman has pleaded guilty to cooking up a scheme to embezzle more than $1 million from her employer to feed a gambling habit. Cynthia Carol Jacobsen admitted to a single count of mail fraud in a plea hearing before a federal judge in St. Paul on Thursday. No sentencing date has been set, but U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank told the woman that under federal sentencing guidelines, she could face a maximum of four years and three months in prison. She’ll also be expected to pay almost $1.05 million restitution to Land O’Lakes Inc., of Arden Hills, where she spent nearly four years running an accounts-payable scam that sent 489 checks for bogus vendors to her home.
Forty-one members and associates of a Clinton Township-based motorcycle gang have been named in a federal indictment accused of crimes such as murder, drug dealing and illegal gambling dating back 20 years. A majority of the defendants in the indictment that was unsealed Friday were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit following a years-long investigation into the Devil’s Diciples Motorcycle Club. The 38-count, 83-page charging document names Jeff Garvin “Fat Dog” Smith, 57, of Mount Clemens, as the national president since the 1980s, and Paul Anthony “Pauli” Darrah, 47, of Macomb Township, as the national vice president since about 2004.
Big money, big business, but it is all underground. Illegal operators rake in millions of dollars in sales of the popular Cash Pot game despite concentrated efforts by the police and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) to shut them down. A Sunday Gleaner probe has revealed that the illegal operators are getting more sophisticated, using remittance agencies to expand their operations islandwide while pulling millions from the licensed operator Supreme Ventures. Vice-president of group corporate Communications at Supreme Ventures, Sonia Davidson, last week confirmed the Sunday Gleaner findings. “Yes, we are aware of some of the more sophisticated methods now being used with the aid of technology. We do gather intelligence from the field,” said Davidson.
The BGLC is also aware of the increased use of technology by the illegal operators and their sales agents popularly referred to as ‘runners’. In one recent case, the BGLC held an illegal operator who had a very elaborate accounting system, which showed him having an annual turnover of $300 million with his top sales agent or runner earning $3 million for the year. “The accounting records and computerised system were so detailed that they showed the sales by all agents, the dates on which the sales were made, payments to sales agents and even loans to sales agents by the illegal Cash Pot operator,” said Derrick Peart, executive director of the BGLC.
An Alabama businessman, a lobbyist and a former state legislator were all sentenced Monday to prison for bribery-related crimes concerning pro-gambling legislation in the state. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson sentenced former Alabama state Rep. Terry Spicer to nearly five years in prison, lobbyist Jarrod Massey to more than five years in prison and businessman Ronald Gilley to nearly seven years in prison in the case. They all have to report to prison by Aug. 27. Gilley and Massey each admitted to a wide-ranging conspiracy to bribe the Alabama state legislature, as well as to individual instances of federal bribery of legislators. Gilley also pleaded guilty to money laundering for attempting to conceal $200,000 in bribes to a state senator in order to disguise the intent of the money. The conspiracy related to legislation before the Alabama statehouse that would have been favorable to electronic bingo. Gilley owned a controlling interest in a real estate concern that sought to offer electronic bingo to the public; Massey was a lobbyist, and Gilley was one of his biggest clients. Together, they offered and gave money and gifts to Alabama legislators for their votes on the legislation.
A former FBI agent pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling $43,190 in public funds and agreed to make restitution before his sentencing. Timothy A. Klotz, 45, admitted in Oklahoma City federal court that he took the funds “for my own personal use.” Klotz also admitted forging signatures on documents to accomplish the embezzlement. Klotz, of Yukon, told a judge he was supposed to pay his sources with the money he took. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange will decide his punishment later this year. The maximum penalty for the felony offense is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. “Not all people who commit crimes are criminals,” his attorney, Michael Johnson, told The Oklahoman afterward. “This was just an unfortunate case based on unfortunate circumstances beyond Mr. Klotz’s control.” He remains free until his sentencing. The judge ordered him to stay out of gaming institutions. Klotz reported in a bankruptcy petition Jan. 30 that he had $11,000 in gambling losses over the past year.
A U.S. District Court jury in Louisville took just 20 minutes Wednesday to convict a previously convicted Michigan con artist of embezzling more than $300,000 from Louisville area investors. David J. Broecker, 54, of Orion Township, Mich., was convicted of two counts of fraud for soliciting about $94,000 from one investor and $229,155 from another and falsely claiming their money would be invested in auto parts and pharmaceutical businesses. Instead, the government said he spent it on himself, including $200,000 gambling at Michigan casinos. Broecker faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine or both when he is sentenced Oct. 15 by Judge Jennifer Coffman.
A second former employee of Repacorp has been charged with theft in an alleged embezzlement scheme involving at least $690,000. Tipp City police last week charged Tess Cremeens, 43, of Piqua. She was hired in 2006 as the assistant to Michael Wion, 40, while he served as company controller. Cremeens is accused of taking at least $228,679 from the company. Wion, also of Piqua, was charged earlier in May with theft for allegedly taking at least $466,000. He was arrested at his new home in Florida and returned to the county by Detective Sgt. Chris Graham. Wion told him he was addicted to gambling and shopping, Graham said in a report.
The Internet cafe patron who shot and injured two men as they tried to rob the business last week will likely not face any criminal charges. “Based on what I have seen and what I know at this time, I don’t anticipate filing any charges,” said Bill Gladson of the State Attorney’s Office. Gladson said he has reviewed the security surveillance video from the cafe. While he still awaits final reports from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, he said the shooting appeared justified. Samuel Williams, 71, who fired the shots, has a concealed weapons permit, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Under Florida law, a person is allowed to use deadly force if he or she fears death or serious injury to themselves or others. As long as the person isn’t committing a crime and is in a place where he or she has a right to be, they are considered to be acting within the law.
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