Monthly Archives: November 2012

New Federal Online Poker Bill Expected to be Filed and Raise Constitutional Concerns

Casino Watch Focus reported many times on the failed attempts of the federal legislature to pass a bill to remove UIGEA and fully allow online gambling at the federal level.  Most attempts have been lead by Senator Harry Reid. A new bill is once again being introduced by Sen. Reid and Les Bernal of Stop Predatory gambling provides a summary of the bill: 

A draft of the online poker bill that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) plan to introduce was released this week. The bill, known as the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012” would legalize online poker at the federal level, a step that became possible last December when the U.S. Department of Justice released an opinion stating that the Wire Act does not apply to online poker.

The bill provides an opt-in structure, in which states have to affirmatively choose to participate in the online poker program. A state would be considered to have opted in if it has passed a law legalizing online poker. Thus far, only Nevada and Delaware have passed such laws. An Indian tribe is considered to have opted in if a designated authority of the tribe submits written notice to the Secretary of Commerce saying so. Money could only be accepted from players located in those states or tribal lands at the time they are playing.

No game other than poker would be allowed under the bill, even if it is licensed by the state. A state could still legalize other games under their own laws, but this law would not allow them to operate those games interstate. The bill has a carve-out that allows interstate bets on horse racing to continue to operate legally, as well as an exception to allow lotteries to sell tickets online.

Other portions of the bill seek to establish a criteria to determine how licenses are issued and tax issues are handled.  The Las Vegas Review Journal explains how parts of the bill could violate due process:

A bill to legalize online poker that is being written in Congress and that Nevada senators are trying to pass by the end of the year could be challenged in court and found unconstitutional, according to a legal analysis by a former top government attorney.

The bill would set up a framework to license and regulate Internet poker companies, and to nourish a U.S.-based online poker industry. But former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement said he found flaws in segments of the bill that seek to punish overseas providers that ran games in the United States and continued to take bets from U.S. players even after Congress passed online restrictions in 2006.

The so-called “penalty box” provisions would prohibit those companies from applying for an online poker license for five years, and from selling their trademarks or software to others seeking a license.

Clement said the bill being formed by Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., “raises serious due process concerns.”

He said it would deprive the providers of “significant property interest,” and could be considered an unconstitutional “bill of attainder” because it effectively singles out a group for punishment without adequate protections for their rights.

This bill could be its own worst enemy as it closes off several forms of online gambling in order to establish a legal framework for poker.  Those party to gambling online outside of just poker will certainly object.  The Las Vegas Review outlines both the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures as groups who oppose due to restricting states opportunities to benefit financially. 

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/19 – 11/25

Gambling addict stabbed his wife to death in front of their two-year-old son

A gambler who stabbed his wife to death after she challenged him about his habit has been jailed for life. Sheikh Islam stabbed his wife Rushna Begum, 28, in their council flat in Bromley-by-Bow, east London, while their two-year-old son watched on. The 36-year-old gambling addict left the child alone in the house with his wife’s dead body before arriving at a relative’s home in tears and asking them to call the police. He was ordered to serve a minimum term of 14-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to murder at the Old Bailey. Islam had been married to Mrs Begum, for 10 years and they had two sons together, but the court heard how thew couple’s relationship turned violent as his gambling habit spun out of control. Mrs Begum was subjected to death threats and domestic abuse as the couple’s relationship became increasingly frayed. Before the fatal incident, Mrs Begum had contacted police about her husband’s abuse and also visited a domestic violence centre after being threatened with a knife.

 Prison for man who stole $1.5M

The former controller of a church-run retirement community was sentenced Monday to three years and five months in federal prison for stealing more than $1.5 million from his ex-employer to fuel his gambling habit.  William Sorriento, 53, of Mechanicville, who victimized the Avila Retirement Community  on Washington Avenue Extension, had hoped to receive only time already served when he appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino.  Instead, the judge sentenced him to the 41-month term requested by prosecutors. “There is a price to pay for his type of criminal conduct,” the judge said. D’Agostino ordered Sorriento to pay $1,582,281 in restitution to the retirement community, which is run by the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.

Excelsior coin dealer accused in $2.7M fraud released to halfway house

A federal magistrate ruled Monday, Nov. 19, that an Excelsior coin dealer accused of cheating customers and investors out of $2.7 million could await his January trial in a halfway house instead of jail.  David Laurence Marion will have to surrender his passport and must wear a device that will track his whereabouts via GPS.  Marion was jailed Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted him on counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering. She listed a litany of problems. Chief among them: He had tested positive for amphetamines after his arrest and had been through rehab this year, and he had a serious gambling addiction. Schommer said that describing Marion’s gambling as a problem is “to state it mildly.” She said he often spent company assets on his casino sprees and that they continued unabated even after he learned he was under investigation for fraud.

 1 killed, 3 hurt while gambling

A 37-year-old Indonesian plantation worker was stabbed to death while three others suffered serious injuries at the hands of a colleague who they had accused of cheating during a “domino” gambling session in front of their quarters in Ladang Matamba, here, Sunday.  District Police chief Supt Shamsudin Mat told a press conference that police managed to detain the suspect who was remanded.  The deceased was identified as Amirudin Raside, while the suspect is also an Indonesian, aged 35.   Preliminary investigations found that the four went to the suspect’s house for gambling at 10am on Sunday,. During the session, the four victims accused the suspect of cheating and this sparked an argument among them,” Supt Shamsudin said.  For fear of being beaten by the victim and three colleagues, the suspect went to his bedroom, took out a knife and began to attack them.  Amirudin fell and died on the spot, while the three others were also stabbed by the suspect who managed to escape.

 J.R.R. Tolkien Estate Files $80 Million Lawsuit Over ‘Rings’ Slots Game

The estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien have filed an $80 million lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles claiming Warner Bros. and its New Line subsidiary and “Rings” rightsholder Saul Zaentz Co. have infringed the copyright in the books and breached  a contract by overstepping their rights to merchandising the property of “The Lord of the Rings”.  “The original contracting parties thus contemplated a limited grant of the right to sell consumer products of the type regularly merchandised at the time (such as figurines, tableware, stationery items, clothing and the like,” the complaint obtained exclusively by the Hollywood Reporter claims. “They did not include any grant of exploitations such as electronic or digital rights, rights in media yet to be devised or other intangibles such as rights in services.” Of greatest concern is the merchandising of “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game”, which attorneys for the estate only learned about via a spam email.

 Man fatally shot at site of illegal gambling operation in Laurel

A man was fatally shot in Laurel in an incident that appears to be related to illegal gambling, police said. About 11:45 p.m., police were called to the 11600 block of South Laurel Drive. A man was found in an apartment complex suffering from a gunshot wound, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Prince George’s County police said. According to preliminary investigation, those involved in the shooting targeted the location, which was set up as an illegal gambling operation. Angela Bonsu, manager of the Villages at Montpelier, where the shooting took place, said that she did not know anything about the illegal gambling operation and said that the victim was not a resident. “We’re praying for the victim’s family,” she told The Washington Examiner, and noted that the complex’s management is working with police.

 Akingide Cole Arrested in $1.6 million Venetian Casino Robbery Case

Las Vegas authorities confirmed the arrest of 31-year-old Akingide Cole for his involvement in the million-dollar heist incident heist that recently occurred at the Venetian resort and Casino in Nevada. The suspect, Akingide Cole allegedly stole $1.6 million in chips from the casino. The case received widespread media attention that led to an anonymous tip. That and solid coordinated efforts from the authorities in San Bernardino and Los Angeles police finally  led to Cole’s arrest,  Oct. 24 2012. Cole was arrested near to his mother’s home. Which leads authorities, press, and well everyone to believe the thief was hiding out at his mother’s house in the Palmdale area.

According to reports, Cole’s case is still in the early developmental stages. He is being investigated for grand larceny and other burglary-related offenses. So far, the authorities have recovered nearly $400,000 in missing casino chips. Authorities are still at work trying to locate and recover the missing $1.2 million in missing chips. The truth of the matter however is that those chips could be returning to the casino in small increments as you’re reading this article.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/12 – 11/18

Casino Criminals Face Up To Life In Prison for Murder

Four men and a woman from the Miami area of Florida have been convicted in the killing of Alvaro Lopez Ramos, a Brinks Security Guard who was performing a routine cash pickup at the Calder Casino and Race Course in Miami Gardens, Florida. On August 21, 2011. It was during that cash pick up that Uri Ammar, Reginald Mitchell, Byron Kyler, Vladmimir Louissant and Victoria Barkley set in motion a plan to rob and kill Alvaro Lopez Ramos as he was working. Loussant told police he stole approximately $345,000 and fled the scene, first in a truck and then in a car which also contained his cohorts in crime, Kyler, Barkley and Mitchell. After the robbery and murder, both Barkley and Mitchell headed to the nearby Seminole Hard Rock Casino, where they gambled with part of the money they had stolen.

Man arrested after fatal shooting in casino

A man was killed and another man was arrested after an early morning shooting at a North Las Vegas casino. North Las Vegas police said a 31-year-old man, whose name was not released, was shot and killed after a dispute inside the Lucky Club Casino at 3227 Civic Center Drive, near Interstate 15. He died at University Medical Center. Shonta Hammond, 35, was arrested and booked into the Las Vegas Detention Center on murder charges. This was the ninth homicide in North Las Vegas this year.

 At Least Two Killed in Mexican Casino Attack

MEXICO, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – At least two people were killed and several more wounded after a group of armed assailants attacked a casino in the Mexican city of San Luis Potosi, local prosecutor’s office repored. One of the killed in the attack was a local businessman and a brother of a mayor of one of the towns in the state of San Luis Potosi. The brother of the victim held the post of the mayor between 2009 and 2011 and his main focus was the fight against the organized crime. The prosecutor’s office did not specify whether the assailants stole any money, but said that police already identified three of the suspects, who fled the scene of the crime in a car. In August of 2011, some two dozen gunmen burst into the Casino Royale in northern Mexican city of Monterrey, doused it with a flammable liquid and started a fire that trapped gamblers inside, killing over 50 people.

 Guilty plea entered in insurance fraud case

What’s $2.3 million worth? About 71 years in prison — and that’s if you cooperate. From January 2005 to October 2011, Edward Earl Waters allegedly conspired with Roland Edward Steed, of Swansboro, to defraud Kinston’s Discovery Insurance Company of more than $2.3 million dollars. Tuesday, Waters entered into a deal with state prosecutors, pleading guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting obtaining property by means of false pretense and two counts of conspiracy. The 62-year-old Kinston resident could receive a maximum sentence of 71 years and six months in prison. With his share of the cash, Waters said he bought jewels and used most of it for gambling. He would go on trips to places like Atlantic City and the Bahamas, taking with him between $6,000 and $7,000. The money also provided his only source of income for six to seven years. At times, he used it to pay for one daughter’s living expenses when she was in college, and another daughter’s bills.

 False info in NY lottery led to arrest in $5M scam

The New York State Lottery put out false information to snare two Syracuse-area brothers accused of scamming a customer out of a winning $5 million scratch-off ticket.  Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman put out the bogus story last month, saying that 34-year-old Andy Ashkar legitimately bought the ticket in 2006 but waited several years before trying to claim the prize in March. Ashkar planned to share the money with his brother, 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar, according to the Lottery. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Lottery officials used the media to get the real winner to come forward after suspecting that the Ashkars were not the legitimate winners partly because they asked for a lesser amount if they skipped a news conference. “I’m sure the DA would say ‘We had to smoke them out and all’s well that ends well,’ but it’s a slippery slope when the press is used for government purposes,” she said.

 Man sentenced to life for stabbing partner with a foot-long life

Domestic violence is in the news on an almost-daily basis. Crime correspondent Neil Hunter looks at two cases and asks an experienced detective what can be done to curb the problem. A MAN who stabbed his estranged partner to death with a foot-long kitchen knife was last night starting a life sentence after being branded a danger to women.  Graham Gibson was told he will be freed from prison only when experts from the Parole Board consider he is no longer a significant risk – which might be never. Teesside Crown Court heard how the gambling addict’s victim Christine Henderson, 50, left him after he repeatedly stole her money and became violent towards her. Months before the killing, the 47-year-old attacked mother-of-three Mrs Henderson and also assaulted one of her daughters when she intervened in the domestic dispute.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/05 – 11/11

Sports-Betting Kingpin Arrested in Santa Barbara

Stanley “Monty” Tomchin was arrested in his Montecito home last Wednesday on charges of corruption, money laundering, and conspiracy in connection with what federal authorities say is an illegal sports betting ring that’s netted more than $50 million nationwide since April 2011. Tomchin — partnered with Brandt England of Las Vegas and George Molsbarger of Santa Monica — owns and operates a sports betting website,, that tried to dodge U.S. gambling laws by using offshore wire accounts and a complicated scheme of bounced transactions between computers servers in Costa Rica and Panama, officials said. The trio is named with 22 other defendants and three other websites in an indictment drafted by the District Attorney’s office in Queens County, New York, where the case is being prosecuted. “Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a prepared statement. “Those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation, and even physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts.”

 Prison term after $450,000 gambling-fuelled fraud  

A Waimea Nurseries employee stole $450,000 from the company to fund a gambling habit and pay for trips to follow sporting events in Australia and New Zealand. Darren Lindsay Thomason, 36, appeared for sentencing in the Nelson District Court yesterday after earlier admitting a charge of theft by a person in a special relationship. Thomason was responsible for the company’s finance and IT and worked unsupervised. It was his responsibility to do the banking and financial transactions. He had authority to do internet banking. Judge Zohrab said Thomason started to steal money from July 2009, and continued to take money until he was dismissed. Because of the degree of trust in him, he managed to transfer $436,610 over that time into his bank account. Thomason had started gambling 15 years ago and became a heavy gambler five years ago.

Monroeville woman sentenced for stealing over $400k from animal hospital

Authorities say a western Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to jail for stealing $407,000 from a veterinary hospital near Pittsburgh where she worked as an administrator. Judge Edward Borkowski sentenced 35-year-old Jennifer Schneiders to between 11 1/2 and 23 months in jail on Monday, followed by fourteen years’ probation. Authorities say she stole the money to support a gambling problem. Police say that from 2009 to 2011 Schneiders spent at least $692,000 at local casinos, and lost almost $82,000 during the transactions. Schneiders was fired from the veterinary hospital in September 2011 after working there for 15 years. The judge also ordered her to repay the money.

 Disbarred lawyer jailed after admitting he stole about $1 million from clients

A recently disbarred lawyer who admits he stole about $1 million — including money from the widow and three young children of a friend who died in an accident — was jailed Thursday on a fraud charge. Rovenger admitted that he stole from many of his clients during the past 20 years and entered into fraudulent and bogus settlements that he lied about, according to a sworn statement he gave to state prosecutors and the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Most of his 34-year career was spent on personal injury cases. “His lifestyle exceeded his means and in an attempt to maintain that, he abused his authority,” Greitzer said. “He’s very contrite, he feels terrible for his family, friends and clients … he’s taken a step in redemption by coming forward.” Rovenger, who is in remission from cancer and lost a kidney, traveled a lot and gambled occasionally, and just spent more money than he earned, Greitzer said.

Nun faces grand larceny charge tied to casino gambling

A nun with a casino gambling problem will be charged today with stealing more than $100,000 from two churches where she worked in Orleans County, The Buffalo News learned late Sunday. The felony grand larceny charge will be filed against Sister Mary Anne Rapp, who in recent years has been assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in Holley and its sister church, St. Mark, in nearby Kendall. Sister Mary Anne is scheduled to answer the charges in Kendall Town Court this evening, Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone confirmed Sunday night.“ This is a situation that was brought to our attention by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and has been under investigation for months by the [Orleans County] Sheriff’s Office,” Cardone said. “It’s not a situation where the sister has been living an extravagant life. I think there are indications that she has a gambling problem.” Investigators believe that donations made by parishioners were stolen by the nun, and she has been treated for an addiction to casino gambling, sources close to the case told The News.

 31 arrests made after cockfighting ring bust

Police in Lawrence County busted a cock fighting ring on Sunday. Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell said that the raid happened at 3616 County Road 81 in the Speake Community. Lawrence County Drug Task Force agents along with the assistance of Sheriff’s Deputies raided the property after conducting a month long investigation. Mitchell said an undercover agent was able to witness illegal cock fighting, as well as illegal drug activity that was occurring on the property.  Mitchell said that agents also discovered several roosters that were dead or severely injured. Charges included unlawful possession of a controlled substance, chicken fighting, gambling and cruelty to animals.

 Conviction for gambler who lost $400,000

A GAMBLER who borrowed heavily from his  mother before losing almost $400,000 at a Sydney casino has been convicted of contributing to his own bankruptcy. Michael Domenico Figliano, from Ramsgate, told investigators he got his mother to lend him money between 2006 and 2008, and would have done anything  to obtain further funds. Figliano was convicted in the Downing Centre Local Court of materially contributing to his insolvency by gambling, the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia (ITSA) announced in a statement on Wednesday. The conviction last Tuesday followed an investigation by the ITSA, which found that Mr Figliano had lost a total of $393,643 at the then Star City between April 2006 and April 2008.

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

Gambling Expansion Moves Forward for Some Florida Communities but Requires Additional Legislative Action

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many gambling expansion efforts in Florida.  Most of the attention has centered on bringing full Vegas-style gambling resort casinos to the family-centered state.  However, several local communities have been debating expanding gambling through slot machines.  With the elections over, a few of those communities have passed referendums to allow for slot machines in one form or another.  However, those battles are far from over as local communities need approval from the legislature to move forward. An online Florida source explains:

A day after convincing Lee County voters to pass a referendum allowing Las Vegas-style slot machines at their facility, Bonita Springs dog track owners prepared for a more difficult challenge: convincing Tallahassee.

The Legislature must pass a bill allowing slots in Lee before any machines can be installed. Attorney General Pam Bondi ruled in January that local slots referendums such as Lee County’s were illegitimate and gambling in the state can only expand through a change in state law. The state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which awards slot machine licenses to pari-mutuel wagering tracks, is following Bondi’s opinion.

The decision for the state legislature is not simple.  The state’s agreement with the Seminole Tribe prevents such slot machines.  The source continues:

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has a 20-year, $1 billion deal with the state. The deal gives the tribe a slots monopoly everywhere but Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which approved slots before the Seminole deal was struck in 2010. The tribe’s attorney, Barry Richard, said the Seminoles would stop payments to the state if the deal is broken and slots are allowed in places such as Lee.

The tribe, which worked on getting a gambling deal with the state for 19 years before signing it in 2010, pays the state $233 million annually. Part of the compact expires in 2015 but that involves authorization for table games such as blackjack. Slots payments run until 2030.

Many among Florida’s leadership have argued that gambling expansion is not the answer to solve the state’s economic issues.  Time exists to contact your local representative and urge them to oppose any bills that come up to formally allow these narrowly won victories to become official state law.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/29 – 11/04

California man sentenced for baccarat scheme

A Southern California man was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison for defrauding Station Casinos out of more than $1 million in a baccarat credit scheme. De Rong Shang, 51, also was ordered to pay $1,011,400 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release when he gets out of prison. Prosecutors had sought a nine-year term behind bars, but Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt said he didn’t believe a tougher sentence was needed in this case. Both Shang and family members tearfully begged Hunt in court for leniency. The Chinese-born Shang, who also faces deportation after he gets out of prison, showed remorse and apologized to the judge.

 Compulsive Gambler Jailed for Murdering Friend Over £250,000 Debt

A man who shot and stabbed his friend to death, rather than pay back a £250,000 loan, has been jailed for at least 28 years.  Lundrim Gjikokaj , 30, from Reading arrived to see Cima Sogojeva at his home in Golders Green in 2008 with a box of chocolates – and then attacked him.  Gjikokaj was originally arrested on suspicion of murder on 16 October 2008 but was bailed on a number of occasions.  Detectives established that he had continually dodged Cima because of the money he owed him and following a detailed enquiry it was established that he had met the victim at the victim’s home address on the morning of the murder. A search of the crime scene and wider area led to the discovery of crucial forensic evidence which Gjokokaj to the shooting.  He was charged in January this year.

 Gambling addict steals $260,000

A former payroll worker has admitted stealing more than a quarter of a million dollars from her employer to fund an expensive gambling addiction. Gladys Ruth Campbell, 64, of Feilding, looked after the accounts of Lower Hutt firm Aztech Engineering.  She started working there in 2009 as a temporary staff member, before gaining a permanent position in 2010. Between March that year and December last year she took $261,205 by falsifying entries into the firm’s MYOB computer accounting program. That included holiday pay and sick leave overpayments of $6802. ”[She] stated she wasn’t aware of the final figure and used the money to supplement a gambling addiction of $600 to $700 a day,” the summary says. Campbell has no previous convictions. Defence lawyer Peter Brosnahan said his client had health and psychiatric problems.

 ‘Fall from grace’: bank manager stole $250,000 from clients to fund gambling addiction

A Commonwealth Bank account manager who stole nearly $250,000 from her clients, including author Thomas Keneally, was driven by a gambling addiction that once left her in fear for her life, a court has heard. Karen Myhang Chau, 39, repeatedly transferred large sums from six customers’ accounts into her own account at the ANZ between October 2010 and January this year, and was charged with six counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage. Among Chau’s victims were Thomas and Judith Keneally, from whom she stole $71,500 while working as their personal account manager. During Chau’s sentencing hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court today, her barrister, Sheridan Goodwin, told the court that her client’s gambling addiction was the cause of the crime.

 25 arrested over cock-fighting

A large group of men arrested over an illegal cockfighting ring have pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and illegal gambling. The 25 men fronted court following raids at Rockbank in Melbourne’s outer-west in September and were fined up to two and a half thousand dollars each. The Sunshine magistrates court was told more than 200 birds had to be destroyed and more than 100 thousand dollars was seized. Another 55 men will front court on the same charges next month.

14 accused of using casino kiosks to run $1-million bank scam

Fourteen people in Southern California have been indicted on charges of stealing more than $1 million from Citibank through a scam involving cash-advance kiosks at casinos, federal prosecutors in San Diego announced Friday. The scam involved making simultaneous withdrawals far in excess of the amount in the individual’s account, according to court papers. The bank’s security system was not equipped to detect simultaneous withdrawals. The alleged mastermind was Ara Keshishyan, 29, of Fillmore. Co-defendants are from Glendale, North Hollywood, Burbank, Winnetka, Mission Hills, Huntington Beach and Pasadena. The casinos involved include the Morongo, Pechanga, San Manuel, Aqua Caliente, Chukchansi and Spa Resort casinos in California, and the Tropicana, Wynn, Bicycle and Whiskey Pete’s casinos in Las Vegas, and Harrah’s in Laughlin, Nev. After getting money from the cash-advance kiosks, some of the 14 would then go on gambling sprees at the casinos, with some of the casinos giving them free rooms after mistaking them for high-rollers, according to the indictment.

Man beaten to death due to gambling

A 34-year-old man was beaten to death by one of his relatives at Jakara village under Ganjam district’s Kabisurya Nagar police limit, about 60 km from here today.  The victim was identified as Tuna Nahak, while Prafulla Nayak (34), one of the relations of the deceased in the same village allegedly killed him. The accused person was arrested, said inspector in charge, Kabisurya Nagar police station SLK Prasad. The incident was suspected to be over gambling in the village on the Kumar Purnima night on Monday. Difference between the two arose when the victim lost in the gambling. Tuna asked for his money from Prafulla despite losing in the gambling leading to a fight between them.

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

UPDATE: Suspects Accused in Florida Youth Football Gambling Ring

Casino Watch Focus reported that a terrible youth football gambling ring had been exposed by ESPN.  The community was shocked to learn the magnitude and severity of such gambling in the community. They learned that kids were being bribed or paid to play for certain teams, families were being taken advantage of and the game was being tainted by the lowest of criminals. Local law enforcement immediately went on the offensive and began in-depth investigations in hopes of ending this travesty.  Eighteen months later and the Orlando Sentinel is reporting  on the details of investigation:

Investigators said bets were taken at a Lauderhill barber shop, and two coaches are accused of betting on point spreads before kids’ games. The nine arrestees’ common bond was their roles as youth football coaches and assistants.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office conducted “Operation Dirty Play” with Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill police, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service. Fort Lauderdale police began surveillance in 2011 to end the betting and drinking, drug use and fighting that a police spokesman said was happening at pee wee games at the time.

According to one of the arrest warrants, amounts wagered in advance of the little league football Super Bowl meant more than $100,000 to the winner, and coaches would actively place bets against an opposing team.

The Florida Youth Football League is has nearly 4,000 youth players from 16 cities.  Not all of the coaches are involved in nefarious gambling acts with their players, but the league maintains a zero tolerance policy.  The Sentinel continues:

South Florida Youth Football’s president, Mike Spivey, did not return calls or email seeking comment. The league’s website says coaches who gamble, recruit kids or pay them to play or hit other players will be banned for life.

The league is one of a half-dozen in South Florida that organize thousands of kids from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties into football teams.

“It’s disappointing anytime we have role models that get arrested,” said Ross Sinel, president of American Youth Football League. “But there are a lot of good coaches who give back to their communities and teach kids discipline, structure, how to win and lose, and how to achieve.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/22 – 10/28

Money-laundering crackdown should put Nevada on notice

Las Vegas is well-known as a convention hub, but few groups it attracts offered as much unintentional irony as the 11th annual AML and Financial Crime Conference held in early October at CityCenter’s Aria. The conference drew hundreds of anti-money laundering experts and financial crimes analysts from across the globe for workshops with titles such as “Leveraging Financial Intelligence Units to Uncover Financial Crime Patterns,” “Spotting Real-Life Suspicious Activity and Red Flags,” and “Implementing a Robust Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance and Risk Management Framework.” Funny they should have such discussions in a city that is no stranger to the subject of money laundering, in a state whose laws of confidential incorporation are widely known as some of the most relaxed in the nation. But, these days, most legalized American casinos are cathedrals of regulation compared to some financial institutions and international businesses, which conceal their true beneficial ownership and tax liability behind multiple shell corporations and limited liability companies.

Secretary of State Ross Miller has the impossible task of oversight of Nevada’s corporate registration structuring without appearing to drive away potential business investment in the state. As for the increased federal focus on criminal shell corporations and LLCs, Miller says, “We applaud those efforts. We realize that is an area of abuse. We always give law enforcement the information they need to investigate the bad actors.” But despite some statutory improvements, he admits, “It’s obviously still a problem.”

 Investigators find evidence of trend in casino money laundering

The one-page advisory barely blipped on the media radar screen when it surfaced back in July. But when the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury essentially puts the casino industry on notice over incidents of possible money laundering structuring, it’s a safe bet it sent regulators scrambling. The gambling industry is large and diverse and operates at varying levels of corporate and regulatory sophistication, but what FinCEN’s investigators gathered gave pause to those who take casino money laundering seriously. Although the location of the casinos wasn’t disclosed, the incidents illustrated what some federal officials fear is a growing trend.

“Recent accounts from law enforcement and regulatory authorities allege that certain casino patrons may have conspired with casino personnel to structure transactions to evade (Bank Secrecy Act) reporting and/or recordkeeping requirements,” the July 1 advisory states. It’s not a simple paperwork crime. Money laundering is often linked to society’s darkest criminal activity. “It’s not just Big Brother,” Camacho said. “We’re talking about going after drug dealers, human trafficking, prostitution, illegal gang activity, terrorism, grand theft, extortion, racketeering, Ponzi schemes, mortgage and check fraud, and embezzlement. They (reporting requirements) are the way we monitor illicit financial activity.”

 Man stole $1.6 million in chips from Las Vegas casino, police say

Authorities believe a Palmdale man stole $1.6 million in high-value chips from the Venetian casino in Las Vegas. Casino security cameras captured the incident, in which the suspect got into a restricted area of the casino. The chances of the suspect cashing in on the theft are slim, said Jerry Markling, chief of the Nevada Gaming Commission’s enforcement division. High-value chips are typically circulated among a small group of top players known by casinos. “It’d be fairly difficult to cash in high-denomination chips simply because most of the licensees know who their players are who receive those types of chips,” he said. “Anybody just can’t walk up to a cage window and cash in a $1,000 or $5,000 chip.”

 Cantor Gaming sports book director arrested, faces eight charges

Cantor Gaming sports book director Mike Colbert was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas by state gaming agents in connection with a warrant filed by the district attorney in Queens County, N.Y. Gaming and legal sources confirmed the charges involve, one of the largest offshore sports wagering websites. Sources said agents for the website were arrested in several cities Wednesday. Colbert, 32, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center. He faces eight counts of conspiracy, money laundering and enterprise corruption and is scheduled to appear Monday in Clark County District Court. Jerry Markling, the Gaming Control Board’s chief of enforcement, said Colbert was arrested at 6 a.m. at his home a short distance from the M Resort in Henderson. He was one of eight people arrested in Las Vegas on the New York charges. Others were Las Vegas residents Kelly R. Barsel, 42, Jerry M. Branca, 67, Steven S. Diano, 48, Brandt A. England, 49, and Joseph D. Paulk, 35, and Henderson resident Paul Sexton, 29.

 5 N.J. men charged in nationwide sports betting ring

Five New Jersey men have been charged as part of a nationwide, illegal sports betting ring that profited more than $50 million by accepting wagers on horse racing as well as professional and college football, basketball, hockey and baseball, authorities in New York announced today. The men were among 25 people from five states charged Wednesday in the enterprise for offenses such as enterprise corruption, promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy, the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the New York Police Department said in a news release. “Those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.

 Carson City woman accused of embezzling $140,000 from CINC Industries

A Carson City woman faces felony embezzlement charges after allegedly stealing an estimated $140,000 as office manager of CINC Industries, an environmental engineering company formerly owned by actor Kevin Costner.  Barbara Jean Larson, 56, was arrested October 9 and faces felony charges of obtaining money by false pretenses, uttering a forged instrument and embezzlement. She is due in Carson City Justice Court on Nov. 6. The woman admitted to stealing and told investigators that she has a gambling problem. Larson stated she has a gambling problem and is responsible for taking care of her 87 year old mother. She told Detective Gomes that she does not have any of the money to give back to Mr. Sheldon and that she either used it to live on or gambled it away, the arrest report states. Larson was booked on the charges.

 Jail for stealing $240,000 from university

An accounts manager who stole nearly $240,000 from the University of Otago was always warning his team to look out for fraud, a court has been told. Graeme Jeffrey Pettitt, 61 was sentenced in Dunedin District Court yesterday to two years and seven months in prison for accessing the university’s electronic accounting system and taking nearly $240,000 over a seven-year period. “The impact of your actions was significant for those who worked with you,” Judge Michael Crosbie told Pettitt, who was described as “a senior and trusted manager”.  Defence lawyer Anne Stevens said Pettitt’s gambling and drinking addictions were more in the nature of an illness and could not be described as greed. Pettitt had publicly acknowledged his offending and his background issues of gambling and drinking. The shame was “absolutely enormous”. He had lost his home, his position and his reputation.

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