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, pinnaclesports.com, 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

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