A Brief Look at Crime 8/20 -8/26

Warrants issued for 2 in Baytown guard slaying

Capital murder warrants have been issued for two men in the killing of a guard at a suspected illegal gambling room near Houston. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says the Aug. 5 gunfire in Baytown during a robbery left Juan Pardo-Gonzalez dead. Authorities on Tuesday announced the search for 26-year-old Rafael Gomez Soliz and 28-year-old Santiago Jaimes Gonzalez. Investigators say three men who allegedly were gambling drew guns and shot the uniformed guard before fleeing with an undetermined amount of cash. The name of the third fugitive has not been released.

 Jupiter man pleads guilty in May attempted kidnapping, avoids life sentence

A Jupiter man Wednesday traded a possible life sentence for the chance to get sent to prison for a maximum of 20 years by pleading guilty to one charge in connection with an elaborate plot to kidnap a wealthy BallenIsles man in May and hold him for a $20 million ransom.  Pavlos Kaimacliotis, 36, pleaded guilty to trying to commit kidnapping. In return, federal prosecutors dropped a conspiracy charge which could have sent him to prison for life and agreed not to push for the maximum punishment. Kaimacliotis and Michael Melillo, 50, of Palm Beach Gardens, were arrested shortly after undercover FBI agents assured them the ransom money had been delivered and their plan to kidnap a man identified only as “J.F.” had been a success. Agents said the plan was led by a cash-strapped Melillo. The former New Jersey attorney blamed their intended victim for setting him up for $100,000 in gambling losses, and said he wanted money to provide for his young son, agents said.

 Former Palms employees indicted in race and sports book scheme

A former manager of the Palms race and sports book and two other ex-employees have been indicted by a federal grand jury in a betting scheme authorities say defrauded the resort out of more than $800,000. Michael Albanese and the other employees – Matthew Kidle, an administrator, and Kassie Baker, a ticket writer – are accused of using their sports book positions to accept “invalid” wagers on horse races. A well-known Palms bettor, Charles Pecchio, also has been charged in the scheme, which occurred between July 2006 and July 2007. Other bettors are alleged to have been involved, but no one else is  charged. “We don’t see this type of activity very often,” said Jerry Markling, chief of enforcement for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which participated in the investigation with federal Homeland Security agents. “This scheme can only work if you have employees involved.”

 Fraudster who stole 1.5 million from his company and own MOTHER to feed online gambling habit jailed for five years

A company boss who swindled more than £1.5m to fund an online gambling addiction has been jailed for five years. Graham Taylor, 66, stole the sum over four years while working for Nema Ltd, an engineering firm where he worked as finance director.  Taylor’s thefts were so large they nearly caused the firm, based in Chichester Business Park, Rochdale, to go under and three members of staff lost their jobs.  Bolton Crown Court also heard how he had taken multiple cash withdrawals from his mother’s bank account while she had dementia and took money from her account just two days after she died. He pleaded guilty to four counts of theft from employees relating to the company between 2007 and 2011 and two counts of fraud by abuse of position relating to claiming his late mother’s estate.

 Archdiocesan embezzler gets 2 to 7 years

Amid the cries and sobs of relatives who packed the courtroom, the former chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was sentenced this morning to 2 to 7 years in prison for her admitted embezzlement of more than $906,000 from the church treasury. Anita Guzzardi turned and looked at her husband Angelo and mouthed the words “I’m sorry” as Common Pleas Court Judge Ellen Ceisler imposed the sentence. Busico argued that Guzzardi’s theft – which occurred during a time when she was steadily promoted and her salary went from $93,000 to $124,000 – was caused by her gambling addiction that in turn was triggered by her feelings of betrayal in 2005 when the District Attorney’s office announced its first grand jury report about the sexual abuse of children by some Catholic priests in the region.

 The nerve to steal $12m worth of steel

He cleaned out close to S$12 million worth of his company’s products over three years, selling its high-end steel products to scrap metal companies. Yesterday, Low Kok Leong (above), 50, was jailed 12 1/2 years for two counts of criminal breach of trust. He committed the crimes when he was an employee of Arcelor Mittal Singapore, a multi-national steel and mining company. He had been a warehouse manager for about 10 years and was in charge of the company’s stocks at Yang Kee Logistics’s warehouse in Tuas.  Without company permission, he would issue delivery orders and e-mails to the staff of the warehouse, authorising the release of its steel products, which include tubes and plates for the oil and gas industry, for sale to five scrap metal companies. He pocketed the money he received, worth almost S$12 million in all.Low’s lawyer, Mr A Thamilselvan, said his client committed the offences to feed his gambling habit.

 Frenchtown man jailed after home set afire with wife, daughter inside

A Frenchtown man who allegedly responded to his wife’s request for a divorce by trying to set their home afire – even though his wife and sleeping 7-year-old daughter were inside – now faces arson and assault charges. Leroy James “Jim” McKay, 40, was charged Friday with arson, a felony, and partner or family member assault and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. McKay’s alleged attempt to burn down the house “makes him unbelievably risky,” said Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who requested a $20,000 bail at McKay’s initial court appearance on Friday. She told them that her husband is an alcoholic with a gambling addiction, and that when he got home from a bar at 3:30 a.m., she told him they needed a divorce, according to Van Valkenburg’s affidavit.

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

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