A Brief Look at Crime 8/13 -8/19

Man allegedly steals $186K in jewelry, clothing to compensate for gambling loss

A man Santa Fe police cannot positively identify told officers that he stole more than $186,000 in jewelry and merchandise from two downtown Santa Fe stores to get back money he lost at an Albuquerque casino.   Martinez told Brewer that his wife dropped him off at the Hard Rock Casino in Albuquerque on Saturday night and that by the end of the night he had become “extremely intoxicated and lost all of his money,” according to the document. On Sunday, Martinez told Brewer, he and his wife were driving to Raton when he “broke the news” to her, which precipitated an argument and him being kicked out of the car. When Brewer, according to her document, asked Martinez if he stole the items in order to get the money back that he lost the previous night, Martinez answered, “Yes.”

 Nationwide cashier embezzled $300,000 from customers to fund roulette habit

A building society cashier embezzled £300,000 from customers when she became addicted to online roulette. Elaine Barrett stole from 49 customers at Nationwide Building Society in Glasgow’s Cambridge Street to fund her habit. Her scheme revolved around moving money from customers setting up new savings accounts into a separate account that only she could access. The 52-year-old was snared when a hand-written cheque for £9229 from a woman’s account that was closed to a fictitious account was spotted by bank officials. Barrett was the cashier that dealt with the customer and when investigated it came to light she had embezzled the money. Further investigations were carried out as a result of this and a number of customers served by Barrett had faced similar irregularities.

 Taylor Woman Charged With Stealing $115G From Family Business to Gamble

A Taylor woman turned herself in to the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office on Wednesday to face charges that she stole more than $115,000 from her family’s sheet metal business and lost it gambling, according to a criminal complaint. Delane Rhodes, 49, 214 W. Taylor St., took on the role of office manager at Fetchen Sheet Metal, Rear 329 S. Main St., Old Forge, in 2006 when her parents, who owned the business, retired and her brother, Edward Fetchen, bought it. Between 2008 and 2012, Ms. Rhodes stole the money in various ways, investigators said, beginning with paying herself for overtime she never worked then later writing dozens of checks from the business to herself. Ms. Rhodes also used the company credit card for personal purchases to the tune of more than $4,000, investigators said. Ms. Rhodes also allegedly took loans out from the business for herself in the amount of more than $78,000.

 Woman sentenced for bilking military out of $190,000

A Sault Ste. Marie woman will serve a 20-month conditional sentence in the community for stealing more than $190,000 from the federal government.  But for the significant health and addiction issues at play during the time Crystal Charlebois-Miller defrauded her employer, she would be going to “real jail,” Ontario Court Justice Andrew Buttazzoni said Thursday.  “It’s a close call,” he said, after noting “jail terms are the usual penalties” for cases of “fraud against the public at large.” Buttazzoni described the offence as a “sophisticated fraud” involving a significant amount of money. He cited the accused’s addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling and underling mental health issues among the special circumstances he considered in determining sentence. Charlebois-Miller has lost a good job, her marriage and her reputation, he said. A public service employee for 22 years, she has had approximately $99,000 from her pension clawed back by the government.

 Employees fleece bosses of $398 million

Forensic accounting firm Warfield & Associates investigated 89 cases of employee fraud between 2001 and 2012, finding that in many cases it was simply a matter of workers sending money to their own bank accounts. Report author Brett Warfield said employee fraud was costly, and revealed governance weakness among some of the country’s major businesses. “The sums of money that were stolen from some of the organisations were incredible, with nine cases involving more than $10 million,” he said. “The ease with which perpetrators in many organisations used the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) system to simply credit their own bank accounts is very concerning.  Gambling addiction was the reason in more than half (or 46) of the cases studied, while improving lifestyle was the motivator in 35 cases.

 Former Miami cop convicted of fraud to be sentenced

Vernell Reynolds, a former Miami cop who stole thousands from a black police officers association to fund her gambling habit, will learn her sentence Wednesday afternoon in federal court.  U.S. Judge Marcia G. Cooke will sentence Reynolds, who pleaded guilty in April to fraud and tax charges.  Reynolds was head of the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, founded by one the department’s first black police officers in 1946. The group advocates for black officers and devotes efforts to charity work to benefit the inner-city. Several years ago, senior members of the group discovered thousands of unauthorized debit-card withdrawals from Reynolds.  She later was indicted on 16 counts of wire fraud for the embezzlement scheme that lasted from September 2008 to June 2010. The police department has since fired her.

 Casino operators pay penalty of $500,000 for breaches

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have been fined $357,500 and $140,000 respectively for breaching social safeguard requirements in 2011. The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) imposed the penalty on MBS for allowing 10 people to enter its casino without valid entry levels, two people to remain in the casino after their entry levies expired, and 19 people with exclusion orders to enter and remain in its casino, reported The Straits Times.

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

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