A Brief Look at Crime 8/27 – 9/02

FBI Files on Joe Paterno Reveals Fear of Organized Crime and Gambling Threats

FBI files on Penn State’s long time former football coach, the late Joe Paterno, make no mention of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was sentenced in a child abuse case this summer.  They do, however, point to the theory that organized criminal factions with gambling interests may have been threatening the head coach and his staff during the late 1970’s and early 80’s via a series of letters.  “It now appears to [Paterno], the purpose of letters is to disrupt his football team,” an FBI memo obtained by the Washington Times said.“[Gamblers] may be using this technique to benefit themselves in future point-spread betting involving PSU and opponents.”

 Authorities destroy more than 750 slot machines seized in illegal casinos

The Federal Agency for State Property Management has destroyed over 750 slot machines seized from illegal casinos in six oblasts in August, the agency reported on Monday. Law enforcement authorities have seized more equipment as they are now working actively to liquidate illegal gambling institutions, according to Mikhail Kantin, who heads the agency department responsible for property seized by the state. Cooperation between the police, the judicial authorities and the property agency is also improving, he said. Court decisions more frequently contain orders on the confiscation and utilization of equipment used for criminal activity, and this had substantially accelerated the destruction, he noted.

 Man sentenced for $4M in bogus insurance charges

A surgical technologist who claimed a gambling addiction led him to bill insurance companies for more than $4 million in bogus charges, sometimes falsely claiming to be a doctor, was sentenced Friday to one year in jail. An attorney for Kenneth R. Welling, 45, of Lake Forest Park, had asked the judge to impose no jail time, saying that Welling was a first-time offender and had accepted responsibility for his crimes. Attorney Collette Tvedt claimed her client deserved mercy because he had already “lost” his wife due to his financial crimes and gambling addiction, and could pay restitution faster if he were able to work. Welling apologized to the judge, his family and others, saying a year of intensive therapy had shown him “it was my gambling addiction fueling my illegal behavior.”

 Alabama Casino Lobbyist, Legislator Head to Prison for Gambling Vote Selling Scheme

A casino lobbyist and a former legislator who pleaded guilty in Alabama’s gambling corruption case are now in federal prison. A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said lobbyist Jarrod Massey reported Monday to the minimum-security prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. Former state Rep. Terry Spicer of Elba reported to the minimum-security prison camp in Marion, Ill. Massey declined an interview with The Associated Press before heading to prison, but he said in a Facebook posting that he was grateful to be serving his sentence close to his family in Montgomery. Massey has a sentence of five years and five months for offering bribes to legislators. Spicer has a sentence of four years and nine months for accepting bribes.

 Las Vegas Sands Allegedly Allowed Organized Crime Figure To Transfer Gambling Credit To Macau

Las Vegas Sands allowed a man identified by the U.S. Senate as an organized crime figure to move a $100,000 gambling credit from a Las Vegas casino to one of its Macau casinos, according to documents that emerged in the wake of a lawsuit filed by a former Sands employee.  The cooperation with an alleged crime boss could draw the attention of Nevada gambling regulators, who are charged with stopping casinos from bringing “disrepute” on the state, at a time when Sands is the focus of several government investigations.  Sands, controlled by billionaire and prominent Republican party donor Sheldon Adelson, is under investigation by U.S. and Nevada regulators for payments that raised bribery concerns under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Evidence in a wrongful termination lawsuit by a former Sands China chief executive spurred the probes.

 Gambler Fakes Kidnapping To Pay Debt

A 28-year-old man faked his kidnapping to repay a gambling debt. His worried mother then paid a 100,000 THB ransom. However, police became suspicious after not finding any evidence of a kidnapper. Eventually the man confessed that he faked his kidnapping to force his family to help him pay the debt. He said he was being threatened every day by the people whom he owed the money. Previously Mr. Chalong had brought his car to pawn to repay the debt, but the money still wasn’t enough. So he had to lie to force his family and friends to find money to help him, because he had no choice.

 Ormond Ponzi scheme operator must pay $2.2 million

A 57-year-old man already convicted of running a million-dollar Ponzi scheme will get more time and has been ordered to pay his victims $2.2 million. Ormond Beach businessman Tomas Loebel pleaded no contest to more than a dozen securities fraud charges, according to a State Attorney’s Office news release.  Circuit Court Judge R. Michael Hutcheson on Wednesday sentenced Loebel to 40 months in prison, to run at the same time as his current sentence. After he’s released, he’ll serve 15 years probation.  A judge in March had already sentenced him to 15 years in prison for cheating his well-heeled friends out of more than $1 million by encouraging them to invest in a company called “The Rose Garden” that didn’t exist.

 MORENO VALLEY: Former water company chief due in court

The former general manager of a shareholder-owned water company in Moreno Valley is due in court Thursday, Aug. 30 to face sentencing on her guilty pleas to  grand theft, identity theft and tax evasion.  Investigators said Debra Sutton, 55,  stole $784,000 of  the Box Springs Mutual Water Co.’s  money and used it for luxury cruises and gambling. Sutton once headed the company, a private nonprofit agency that provides water to about 3,300 people in the Edgemont community on Moreno Valley’s west side.  In March, dozens of Box Springs shareholders, furious over allegations of embezzlement and lax oversight, ousted the company’s former board of directors.  Sutton was charged the next day.

 Accountant Pleads Guilty to Stealing $400k from Client

An accountant who was working for an East Hampton firm pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Criminal Court on Aug. 23 to embezzling slightly more than $400,000 from an elderly client whom she was supposed to be helping to pay bills, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.  Sheila Parrish-Miles, 54, of Riverhead, had recently been fired from the firm, when it was discovered she had been writing checks from the elderly man’s account, endorsing and depositing them into her own account, the DA’s office said. “Ms. Parrish Miles expressed extreme regret for the situation,” said her attorney Colin Astarita, of Southampton. “She had indicated in court that the money was spent on online gambling sites and she has sought therapy for the gambling addiction,” he said.

 Man Charged in $648K Insurance Scam

An insurance company president faces up to 15 years in prison after police charged him with stealing more than $648,000 in insurance premiums, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office. An investigation by two agencies produced evidence that Joseph Koch, 54 of Jericho, had spent the money on personal expenses, including car, mortgage, and country club bills, said the DA’s office. Rice’s office said the stolen money was used for Koch’s own expenses, including payments on a Mercedes-Benz, mortgage bills, gambling trips, country club membership fees, and income taxes. “Mr. Koch’s theft left his client without coverage and facing potentially serious liability issues, but all he cared about was living the high life on somebody else’s dime,” said Rice. “It’s unimaginable that he thought he could get away with so brazenly flaunting the theft of more than a half million dollars.”

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

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