Monthly Archives: October 2012

The NFL, along with MLB, NHL & the NCAA, sue to stop NJ sports betting

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the NFL’s opposition to gambling on their games.  Outside of Las Vegas, no other states have the same type of open sports type gambling that draws the ire of the NFL.  Delaware attempted to pass a single-event betting law for NFL games, but as Casino Watch Focus reported, the NFL successfully stepped in and supported litigation to oppose the law. Now, New Jersey has decided to pass a similar law and as before, the NFL has stepped in along with other major sports leagues like the MLB, NHL and even the NCAA.  The claim by New Jersey to dismiss the case is predicated on the fact that the law won’t cause any adverse harm or effects on the sports organizations.  However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting on why the NFL et. al., believe the position to be hypocritical:

The major professional sports leagues and the NCAA say New Jersey’s proposed sports betting law is hypocritical because it prohibits gambling on New Jersey college games yet allows it on all other college and pro contests. The NCAA, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League are collectively suing to block New Jersey’s sports betting law from taking effect; the state says it could take bets as soon as December.

In court papers filed late Monday in their response to New Jersey’s efforts to have the case dismissed, the leagues note New Jersey says sports betting won’t harm the pro or college leagues. Yet the leagues say the state forbids gambling involving New Jersey college teams or any college game played in New Jersey.

“Notwithstanding defendants’ insistence that the state’s gambling scheme will have no adverse effect on the sports organizations, the state has exempted the sporting events of its own college and university teams, as well as all collegiate sporting events held within New Jersey, from the very gambling that defendants now insist will cause no injury,” the sports leagues wrote in paperwork filed in U.S. District Court late Monday. “Nowhere in their brief do defendants attempt to explain why New Jersey has singled out its own teams and sporting events for protection from injuries that purportedly do not exist,” the leagues wrote.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/15 – 10/21

Postman to be sentenced for €1.7m fraud

THE postal manager who went missing following the discovery of an almost €1.7m fraud has had his sentencing adjourned. Tony O’Reilly (37) of Sandhills, Hacketstown Road, Carlow, appeared before Judge Barry Hickson at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court yesterday  having pleaded guilty to six charges of theft. O’Reilly also pleaded guilty to six charges of falsifying An Post lodgement dockets for accounting purposes between December 6, 2010, and June 29, 2011. The thefts totalled €1,650,000. He is alleged to have taken the money because of a gambling addiction.

 Former Elk Grove man suspected of gambling with investor money

A former Elk Grove man who allegedly bilked members of the Indian Fijian community with his Perfect Financial Group was arrested on multiple charges in Caldwell, Idaho. In addition to investment fraud and bankruptcy fraud, Singh is accused ofwire fraud and bankruptcy bribery.  The indictment says Singh targeted 190 members of the Indian community and raised $20 million. He told investors their money would be used for lending. The indictment says he instead used the money to gamble for his own purposes and to pay off early investors. The indictment says he lost up to $12 million gambling. He filed bankruptcy in the summer of 2010, and the indictment says he committed fraud inside of bankruptcy protection and made false statements.

Five convicted in shooting death of Brinks guard at Calder Casino

Five people, including a man from Broward County, have been convicted for the shooting death of a Brinks guard during an armed robbery at the Calder Casino and Race Course in Miami Gardens, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer announced Wednesday. According to authorities, Ammar and Mitchell worked security jobs at Calder Casino. They conspired to rob the Brinks guard as he made a scheduled cash pickup. Mitchell recruited Louissant, Barkley and Kyler for the job. On the day of the robbery, Mitchell drove Louissant to Calder in Kyler’s truck, which Kyler had falsely reported stolen, according to trial evidence. After shooting the guard in the head and chest, Louissant grabbed the Brinks money bag with about $345,000 inside, sped away in a truck and later switched to a getaway car to complete his escape with Mitchell, Kyler and Barkley, prosecutors said.

 Men expected to plead guilty in gambling ring tied to accused Ascot Estates killer

Three men accused of running a gambling ring are expected to plead guilty to running the illegal business. Lanny Ray Gunter II, Harry B. Benenhaley and Ronald D. Smith are charged with conduct of an Illegal Gambling Business. The three agreed to plead guilty in a brief filed in federal court Monday. The agreement for Gunter says he must cooperate with a federal investigation into a sports gambling ring linked to accused killer Brett Parker. Parker is in jail awaiting trial for the murder of his wife Tammy Parker.  He’s also charged with killing his friend, Brian Capnerhurst.

 25-year-old man ran $10 million Ponzi scheme in Boca Raton, feds allege

WEST PALM BEACH – A 25-year old man ran an audacious $10 million investment fraud out of Boca Raton, using the money to finance his jet-set, lavish lifestyle and gamble big at Las Vegas casinos, according to federal court documents. Donald R. French Jr. launched what the FBI has described as “a classic Ponzi scheme” when he was just 21 years old, allegedly convincing clients he could get them returns as high as 50 percent by investing in such things as emeralds. He spent the past five years living in Rome, visiting about 30 countries and gambling away at least $565,000, records show.  His jaunts around the world ended this summer when he was detained in South Africa and shipped back to Las Vegas to face charges he passed $750,000 in bad checks at casinos, court records show. After he pleaded guilty to a felony charge there, federal authorities took him into custody. He arrived in South Florida in handcuffs last week to face a wire fraud charge that could carry up to 20 years in prison.

 Caretaker accused of stealing from elderly client

A 55-year-old Lauderhill woman was charged with grand theft and elderly exploitation, on Wednesday, and accused of stealing an estimated $400,000 from the Deerfield Beach woman she was paid to care for, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Lorna Mulgrave was a home health care aide for Jean Barbara between March 2007 and March 2010 when Barbara died at the age of 93, investigators said. In addition to the $500 payments she received, Mulgrave paid herself an extra $157,000 over the three years she cared for Barbara. Records showed Mulgrave also gave money to her daughter Sherika Jackson and her son-in-law Shane Jackson. Mulgrave also spent Barbara’s money to pay electricity, cable and Internet bills for several other people she knew. Thousands were spent on pay-per-view movies, music downloads, cellphone calls, long distance calls to her native Jamaica, extra large clothing, home repairs and electronic payments to casinos, records showed.

 Pueblo file clerk stole $132,000

A former file clerk at Picuris Pueblo faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling about $132,000 to support a gambling habit and pay bills, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. Norma Mermejo, 61, pleaded guilty in federal court to two charges: embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization. During Thursday’s hearing Mermejo admitted embezzling tribal funds 144 times between February 2008 and April 2010 when she was fired after tribal officials learned of the thefts. She also may be fined up to $250,000 when she is sentenced at a date still to be set.

 Hedge Fund Manager Efrosman Pleads Guilty to Forex Fraud

Aleksander Efrosman, the fund manager who fled the U.S. after being accused of swindling clients, admitted to running a scheme to cheat investors out of $5 million, including $3 million he spent at a casino.  Efrosman, 50, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, New York, prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement. Efrosman, who controlled foreign-currency hedge funds Century Maxim Fund Inc. and AJR Capital Inc., had faced mail-fraud, wire-fraud and money-laundering charges. Efrosman stole from more than 100 clients who gave him $5 million in 2004 and 2005 to invest, prosecutors said. He gambled more than $3 million at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, according to prosecutors.

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

Study Confirming Near-Misses Fuel Gambling Addiction Highlights Need to Stay Focused on Slot Machines

Casino Watch Focus has reported many times on the dangers of slot machines.  The psychology behind why slot machines are so effective at addicting players has been the subject of many researchers.  A recent study has examined the idea of a “near-miss,” or coming one icon away from a win.  The conclusion of the researchers is that these near-misses fuel gambling addiction.  An online source explains:

Canadian researchers have provided new evidence that gamblers interpret near-misses as frustrating losses rather than near-wins. This frustration stimulates the reward systems in the brain to promote continued gambling that, in turn, may contribute to addictive gambling behavior.

Studies to date have shown that near-misses support persistent gambling and activate brain areas that reinforce certain behaviors. If near-misses are seen as near-wins, then they should be pleasurable. If, however, near-misses are highly frustrating losses, then they should be unpleasant.

The analyses showed that progressively larger wins led to longer pauses between spins and increased arousal levels. Near-misses with jackpot symbols landing on the first two reels led to significantly larger skin responses than regular losses and other types of near-misses. In addition, the gamblers were compelled to repeat the spin as quickly as possible after this type of near miss.

“By activating what we call the appetitive component of the mesolimbic rewards system, these near-misses may help a player develop a hopeful, subjective impression that the next win is imminent,” Dr Dixon said. “This might ultimately contribute to the sensitization of the appetitive system, which plays a key role in addictive behavior.”

This type of research helps to illustrate how people can become addicted to slots.  As elections near, its research like this that demands close attention to the types of gambling that could be exposed to communities.  Natasha Shull, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in MIT’s Program on Science, Technology and Society, has spent the last 15 years researching and studding the slot machines.  In an MIT article, she explains how slot machines are designed to addict gamblers and create tremendous profits for casinos:

Schull herself is not a gambler, but says she can relate to gamblers when they talk about the repetitive, absorbed relationship they enter into with the technology. “I think many of us understand what it’s like to zone out on machines.

As Schull explains, today’s machines are much different from ones of the past. Visual graphics are now calibrated so the gamblers’ eyes won’t get tired so quickly. Sound is manipulated as well, to reduce the stress of cacophony in cavernous spaces. To facilitate faster play, today’s machines have buttons and touch-screens instead of handles and mechanical reels.

Instead of coins, they accept player credit cards. Instead of a few games per minute, it is now possible to play hundreds. Inside the machines, complicated algorithms control the odds. “Every feature of the machines is geared to keep people playing until they’re broke.”

Natasha Shull had published a new book Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. Her book and research will be the feature of many articles on Casino Watch Focus and more information on her book can be found here.  As elections near in your communities, please remember that there’s a reason gambling companies spend so much money to influence elections and to expand gambling.  Its not because they plan to make winners of everyone in the neighborhoods, its because they have designed a method of revenue collection for high profits that are fueled by addiction.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/08 – 10/14

Phony South Florida religious group defrauds $4 million from 1,400 immigrants

Four South Floridians posed as representatives of a Christian organization to rip off $4 million from vulnerable immigrants.  Seamens Harvest Ministries operated out of a storefront in a Plantation strip mall, claiming to file so-called religious worker immigration applications for undocumented residents in exchange forlarge cash “donations.”  More than 1,400 victims thought they would wind up with coveted green cards that would allow them to work legally.  The defendants capitalized on immigrants’ hopes by using religion to trick them into believing the fraudsters had genuine intentions, prosecutors said.  “The defendants lined their pockets for more than five years, but not a single alien obtained their green card,” prosecutor Timothy Cole said. Alers, Caceres and Dorado often went to a local casino “to gamble the money (often in amounts exceeding $10,000) extracted from the victims,” prosecutors wrote.

Arrests made in 2 recent Jacksonville shootings

Arrests have been made in the killing of a teenager and an attempted murder outside a high school football game, Jacksonville police said Monday. A warrant has been issued in a third case, Saturday’s slaying at a Jacksonville club. On Sept. 22 Ranod McKann, 16, was talking with a 40-year-old dice game winner hours after the game outside an Art Museum Drive apartment complex when they were robbed by two other men, police said Monday. McKann was shot following the robbery. Lt. Rob Schoonover said McKann was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was the only one wounded. An earlier report by police that McKann was involved in the dice game was incorrect. Police said a third man, Tyrone Marquis Taylor, 20, is being sought on a murder charge and was identified as one of the gamblers that morning. Schoonover said the robbery may have been related to the gambling loss. On Sept. 25 police recovered the stolen getaway car on West Lincoln Court. Beside a nearby garbage bin, they found the .357-Magnum handgun used to kill McKann.

 Woman admits to skimming from public schools

A former accounts payable clerk is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from the La Crescent-Hokah public schools to fuel a gambling habit. Mary Chris Turner of Onalaska admitted to taking money for up to a decade, telling police she spent it on pull tabs, bingo and at casinos, according to a criminal complaint. Turner, 59, was charged Thursday in Houston County District Court with felony theft, swindle, embezzlement of public funds and credit card fraud. According to the complaint, district officials discovered missing checks during an annual audit. They then realized someone had used the district Visa card to make cash withdrawals and doctored the credit card statement in a cover-up.  Officials suspected Turner, who was responsible for keeping track of credit card use. According to the complaint, they said she was protective of the cards and worried about other employees using them for large purchases.

 Ex-Head Of Waterbury Boys, Girls Club Sent To Prison For More Than 4 Years For Embezzling

For most of his life Robert Generali has been known as “Big Rob,” a fitting nickname for a man well over 6 feet tall, but on Friday a federal judge called him a “common thief” before ignoring federal guidelines and sentencing him to 57 months in prison for embezzling more than $400,000 from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury. “In the deepest, most insidious sense, the children are the victims here,” U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Bryant said. “Will they ever trust authority figures again, or will they see them all like they now see ‘Big Rob’?” Generali first came under investigation of federal authorities in early 2010 when they learned he had won a $100,000 Super Bowl pool in 2008 at Roma’s Restaurant and never claimed it on his tax returns. As they further investigated his financial dealings they discovered Generali was using an unauthorized credit card account he opened in the club’s name for his personal use and depositing club money to a bank account that he used for personal expenses.

 44 arrested in $1b money laundering ring

The Israel Police today announced that it has uncovered a gambling and money laundering ring which had a turnover of over $1 billion over the past two years. The police said that the ring was a new financing channel for many criminals, which replaced the financing from Trade Bank, before it crashed.  In pre-dawn raids, the police arrested 44 persons suspected of managing the gambling and money laundering ring. The arrests were made in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Holon, Rishon LeZion, and other cities.  The arrests were made on the basis of intelligence about tens of millions of dollars obtained through illegal gambling operations by criminal gangs in central Israel.

 Calif. man gets prison in Bellagio chip heist

A California man was sentenced Wednesday to two to five years in a Nevada prison for his role in a botched grab-and-run casino chip heist last May at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip.  Michael Quinn Belton, 25, of Nuevo, Calif., apologized in court and gave Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney a letter saying he wanted to enter the military and turn his life around.  “I’m sorry about what I did,” Belton said in a raspy voice as he stood shackled to other jail inmates in the courtroom. “It was poor judgment on my part.” Prosecutor Danae Adams said Belton and the other would-be robber wore wigs and sunglasses into the Bellagio, and the other man sprayed a pepper spray-type substance at a blackjack dealer and player before Belton snatched $115,000 worth of chips and tried to run.

 Feds say couple stole $2.5 million from casino nightclubs

The controller and chief financial officer for an entertainment group that owns and operates restaurants and nightclubs at Foxwoods Resort Casino has been charged, along with her husband, with embezzling more than $2.5 million from the company.  The government alleges that Lynn A. Scheufler, 34, and Craig L. Galligan, 40, used $1.4 million in embezzled funds to gamble at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. They were arrested Wednesday at their Woodstock home, according to U.S. Attorney David B. Fein. They later were presented in federal court in Hartford and released on bond. “We are deeply disappointed by this incident, and are working hand in hand with both the Internal Revenue Service and United States Attorney’s Office as they uncover all the facts surrounding this elaborate scheme. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation we are unable to provide further comment at this time.”

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

Is Genting Group Leveraging Florida Gambling Expansion Ballot Initiative to Press Action in Legislative Session?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the Genting Group’s many attempts at expanding gambling in Florida to bring in full scale mega Vegas-style resort casinos.  Most recently Genting was reported to have been greasing the wheels to help ensure a ballot initiative will move forward in the process.  Now, its being reported that they have raised a serious amount of money and could be looking to leverage the threat of a ballot initiative to persuade Florida politicians to pass a bill in session that will have the legislator’s concessions and guidelines included.  The Miami News Times explains:

After Genting Group’s aggressive push to shove gambling down the throat of the Florida legislature this year failed spectacularly, gambling interests have taken a more low key approach to eventually opening the sunshine state to more gaming. They may be looking to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2014, but could also just be using that as a tactical move to force the legislature’s hand.

New Jobs and Revenues for Florida, a political action committee, has raised just under $1 million since it was founded in April. Genting has denied involvement with the group, but most of the groups money has come from Bayfront 2011 Development, LLC or Resorts World Miami, LLC, two Genting connected companies.

 “They’re doing a lot of legal analysis and polling analysis,” No Casinos for Florida President John Sowinski told the paper, “which tells me they’re having a hard time finding something that the voters will have the stomach for.”

Though, Sowinski also theorizes that the threat of a ballot measure could just be used to move the legislature’s hand. The ballot measure could, for instance, provide for a lot less funding for the state than could a deal worked out directly with the legislature.

However, other gambling interests, including Las Vegas Sands, say they still believe the best way to get gambling legalized in Florida is directly though the legislature. A ballot measure would have to be approved by 60 percent of all voters.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/01 – 10/07

Man who wore ninja outfit convicted of killing filmmaker’s son

A man accused of dressing in a black ninja outfit and killing the son of a Japanese filmmaker in a Beverly Hills carport in 2010 was convicted of murder Tuesday.  In closing arguments Monday, prosecutors portrayed Scott Barker as a cowardly man who waited in a Beverly Hills carport dressed in a black ninja-like outfit before stabbing Katsutoshi “Tony” Takazato 58 times with a kitchen knife.  The prosecution said Barker was driven to murder after learning that Chie Coggins Johnson, Barker’s girlfriend at the time, was reconsidering moving with him to Florida and that Takazato was trying to persuade her to do porn shots and engage in prostitution to help pay off his debts. Coggins Johnson had earlier dated Takazato and continued to live with him.  Takazato, 21, lived in Trousdale Estates, an upscale Beverly Hills neighborhood, in a property owned by his father, Fuminori Hayashida, who produced several low-budget films in the 1990s. Witnesses testified that Takazato had gambling and drug addictions. Coggins Johnson said he owed money to several people.

Computerized Casino Card Cheats Go Bust In FBI Slug-fest

Way back in August 2002, Van Thu Tran, now 47, helped launch a criminal enterprise, which federal prosecutors have dubbed the “Tran Organization.” As far as these schemes go, this one was fairly successful, ripping off about $7 million from U.S. and Canadian casinos; however, “successful” is a relative term because virtually all the conspirators were caught by the feds and seem on their way to being comped into a federal penitentiary where there will likely be no courtesy bar — other than the ones on the doors to their jail cells. To date, a total of three Indictments have been issued from 2007 to 2009 and 42 defendants have pled guilty to charges relating to the casino-cheating conspiracy.

Man shot, killed outside Pompano Beach store

Broward Sheriff’s deputies are searching for a gunman they said fatally shot a 23-year-old man Monday night. Gunshots rang out in front of the 15th Street Supermarket in Pompano Beach near Blanche Ely High School around 5:50 p.m. “I heard the commotion,” said Toniqua Thomas. Thomas and dozens of other people were nearby when they said the shooting began. “They was gambling over there,” Thomas told Local 10’s Baron James. “One person owes the other person money, and wouldn’t give him the money. He was trying to run away.” As bullets chased him, the victim ran next door to the parking lot of the Georgia Grocery Store where deputies said he collapsed and died.

 Quincy man pleads guilty to running illegal gaming in Chinatown

BOSTON — As part of an ongoing investigation into extortion and illegal gaming in Boston’s Chinatown, a Quincy man pleaded guilty late Friday to running an illegal gambling business, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. The investigation included a court-authorized wiretap on the defendant’s phone and a series of consensual video-recordings made inside gambling dens. Luong said that his Beach Street gambling den had made $100,000 during a three-day period around Chinese New Year 2011, and that normally, the gambling den generated $60,000 or $70,000 per week in profits.

 Gambling Scandal May Cost Mass Congressman:  Tisei Now Leading in Polls

A new poll gives Republican challenger Richard Tisei (TIH’-say) a slight lead over seven-term incumbent Democrat John Tierney in the state’s 6th Congressional District, but the survey also finds nearly one-third of likely voters undecided.  The poll of 371 likely voters in the district, conducted Sept. 21-Sept. 27, gave Tisei, a former state senator, 37 percent to Tierney’s 31 percent. Thirty percent said they were undecided. The poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center had a margin of error of 5.1 percent. Republicans view the 6th District as the party’s best hope of picking up a House seat in Massachusetts. Tierney’s wife, Patrice, was convicted last year of filing false tax returns for one of her two brothers accused of running an illegal offshore gambling ring. Tierney himself has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Man Admits to Running Illegal Gambling Ring

A Danvers, Mass. man who reportedly ran an online sports betting business in the Seacoast pleaded guilty to money laundering, gambling and tax charges in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire last week. The money laundering charges reported arose from a scheme in which Giannelli was listed as an employee on a former sports betting customer’s business. He provided the business with cash proceeds generated from the gambling business, and in return, the business issued paychecks to Giannelli, making it appear that his income was legitimate. The business also generated false W-2 forms that Giannelli used to support tax returns filed with the IRS. Between 2003 and 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Giannelli laundered approximately $452,000 in proceeds through this scheme.

 Debtor shot pal six times, Old Bailey told

A 30-year-old father was brutally murdered in his Golders Green home after he demanded a friend repay a loan of £250,000, a court has heard. Career criminal Cima Sogojeva had been piling pressure on his friend Lundrim Gjikokaj to return the sizeable sum in the weeks leading up to his death, jurors heard on Tuesday. Mr Sogojeva, who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from West End parking meters, had even threatened to harm Gjikokaj’s family if he failed to repay him, the Old Bailey heard. Gjikokaj agreed to meet Mr Sogojeva at his flat in Caroline Court, Highfield Road, Golders Green, to hand over the cash on October 6, 2008.  But minutes after Gjikokaj visited the home, armed police found Mr Sogojeva’s bullet-riddled body sprawled on the living room floor of his flat after a neighbour raised the alarm. Opening the case prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said that Gjikokaj had fallen into serious debt after a bar he owned in the George Hotel in Reading started to struggle. His gambling debts spiralled out of control, with Gjikokaj blowing £64,000 in one visit to a casino, she said.

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

Hungary Views Slot Machines as a Threat to National Security

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing gambling expansion efforts in Florida.  As the election draws near, many local communities will be voting on a myriad of gambling initiatives, most of which involve slots.  The dangers of slot machines can be devastating to a community and one nation has more than recognized their danger.  Hungary is viewing slots as a threat to their national security.  The Wall Street Journal explains:

Hungary’s government decided Monday urgent action is needed to crack down on gambling because it eats into people’s incomes and poses a threat to national security.

State secretary Janos Lazar said that slot machines present a serious hazard, especially for the rural poor who spend sizable chunks of their small salaries and welfare benefits on one-armed bandits.

“Gambling is explicitly dangerous and harmful for society,” Mr. Lazar said. Games of chance in general go against the credo of his conservative political family, he said, which is why the government considers the matter a key priority.

The country is so adamant about the dangers of slot machines, that they are taking swift measures to outlaw them. The Wall Street Journal continues:

Mr. Lazar said the ruling majority will rush the necessary legal changes. A group of representatives from the governing Fidesz party will submit legislation Monday with a final vote coming as soon as Tuesday. The urgency is warranted by new information on a national security risk from groups in the gambling industry, Mr. Lazar said while declining to divulge any details regarding the nature of the risks.

Under the legal revision, slot machines will no longer be put into operation and those currently in use would be recalled, the only exceptions being casinos that have concessions from the state. If adopted, the measure will have widespread effects on many low-range bars and pubs, which operate slot machines that generate a considerable part of their revenue.

Mr. Lazar said that the revenue shortfall to the budget resulting from the slot machine ban will be made up through new regulations and taxes on online gambling.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 9/24 – 9/30

Talented young footballer jumped to his death after racking up online gambling debts

A promising young football player jumped to his death from 120ft high viaduct after racking up gambling debts online. Talented Adam Billing, 27, from Liskeard, near Plymouth had been a youth team player with Plymouth Argyle FC but failed to make it as a professional after suffering a serious knee injury. He threw himself from the 120ft high Moorswater viaduct in Liskeard, east Cornwall, in April after spiraling into debt through an online gambling addiction.

In a statement he said: ‘For whatever reason Adam had been drawn into a cycle of gambling that became more and more costly to him and he felt he couldn’t approach me or anyone else for help.’ Mother Karen and father Bill said: ‘It is our opinion that Adam turned to online gambling after a number of personal circumstances left him at a low ebb and made him vulnerable to the lure of online gambling. Mrs Billing went on to warn others about online gambling. ‘Vast amounts of money can be easily lost, just by clicking a button.  Those who gamble get embroiled, not acknowledging that they are losing real money,’ she said.

 Teen dies after dice-game robbery in Jacksonville

Jacksonville authorities say a teen died after being shot during a robbery attempt as he placed a dice game. The Florida Times Union reports that relatives of the victim reported him being 16 years old. He has not yet been identified.  Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Shawn Coarsey says the teen was with friends playing the gambling game Saturday night when two males approached them. The suspects shot and robbed the group, then took off.  Police have not yet made any arrests. The teen was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

 Three convicted in point-shaving scandal

The three main defendants in USD basketball’s federal point shaving scandal have pled guilty to various charges, including bribing star player Brandon Johnson, according to U-T San Diego. Steve Goria, Richard Garmo and Paul Tweni quietly pled guilty to bribing Johnson to shave points from the Toreros’ score in a February 2010 basketball game, according to U-T San Diego. These three guilty pleas bring the total number to six, in the indictment that involves a grand total of 10 people, including former players Johnson and Brandon Dowdy as well as former assistant coach Thaddeus “TJ” Brown. The FBI believes that Brown was the liaison between the gamblers and the players charged. After an anonymous informant came forward with information about Goria’s illegal gambling operations, the case evolved into an investigation into point shaving, with the indictments following a year later.

 Slain woman’s husband indicted on gambling counts

An Oklahoma City man has been indicted along with eight other people and one business for an alleged illegal gambling operation and money laundering in Oklahoma City. The Mitchell’s have previously denied any wrongdoing.  The indictment alleges the defendants were members of an illegal gambling operation that organized high-stakes poker games, took wagers on sporting events and laundered the proceeds. The gambling allegations surfaced after Teddy Mitchell’s wife — Julie Mitchell— was found beaten to death in the couple’s Oklahoma City home in 2010.

 Ex-chamber executive pleads guilty to theft

JOPLIN, Mo. — Kim Lester, the former finance chairwoman for the Boomtown Days Festival who was employed as vice president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, pleaded guilty Monday to stealing money from the festival’s bank account. Lester, 54, 5848 Eland Road, paid $40,000 in restitution, which is about the amount she told investigators she had taken from the festival accounts before the discrepancy was discovered in December 2010. Lester told investigators that she used the money to fund a gambling addiction. She has made no public comment during the course of the investigation or the court proceedings.

 Man admits stealing $100K in copper from Cape Canaveral AFS

A 24-year-old Merritt Island man faces federal prison after pleading guilty to charges he and his stepfather stole $100,000 in copper from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Federal prosecutors said the pair gained access to the base with 49-year-old James Allen Lee using a temporary contractor access badge issued by his employer between November 2010 and April 2011.  Phillip Joseph Vogt III, who investigators said hid beneath a blanket in the bed of a pickup truck as Lee drove onto the base, faces up to 10 years in federal prison for theft of government property, according to the U.S. States Attorney’s Middle District office in Orlando. Vogt and co-defendant  Lee confessed removing large amounts of copper wire from reels in a storage area, later scrapping it for cash. After being confronted by investigators, Lee said he spent all the money on “gambling and drinking,” according to federal court documents.

Forest woman sentenced for stealing from elderly at bank

A former branch manager of a local bank who pleaded guilty in June, was sentenced this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg to a charge of embezzlement. Sheila Marie Wright, 50, of Forest, Va., previously waived her right to be indicted and pled guilty to one count of obtaining monies under the custody and control of financial institutions by means of false and fraudulent pretenses. This morning in District Court, Wright was sentenced to 33 months of federal incarceration and five years of supervised release thereafter. Wright also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $364,894.76 to her victims.  “Wright abused her position at the bank to prey on unsuspecting victims, selfishly using their hard-earned savings to perpetuate her gambling activities.  Unfortunately crimes such as these occur too often and destroy the public’s confidence,” said Jeffrey C. Mazanec, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Richmond Division. “The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate and work with the USAO to bring these criminals to justice.”

 Pine Grove woman admits stealing $211,526 from sportsmen’s group

Stacy M. Kassab admitted Wednesday in Schuylkill County Court that from January 2008 until October 2011, she stole more than $200,000 from a Pine Grove area sportsmen’s group. Kassab, 38, of Pine Grove, did not change expression as she pleaded guilty to theft, receiving stolen property and theft by failure to make required disposition. Police said at the time of Kassab’s arrest that she admitted stealing the money in order to pay personal expenses and support her gambling habit.

 Halfway Home Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

A former bookkeeper at a shelter for women coming out of prison — a woman who herself had been helped by the center after getting out of prison for embezzlement — pleads guilty to embezzling $160,000 from the shelter. Jean Kilroy-Bensinger, 49, faces up to 15 years in prison, after admitting she stole the money from the Center for Women in Transition to support her gambling habit at the River City Casino. The Center’s Director, Robert Wessels, asked Judge David Dowd to give Bensinger the maximum penalty, when she is sentenced later this fall. “In my opinion, somebody with this type of criminal background, who would abuse the position of trust of an organization like this that wanted nothing but to help this woman, I believe that she should get the maximum for this charge,” Joyce said.

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