A Brief Look at Crime 11/26 – 12/02

Bookkeeper steals nearly $500K from tennis club

A former bookkeeper for the Boeing Employees Tennis Club in Kent was sentenced to nearly two years in prison.  Joanne Hanada, 61, was found guilty of 10 counts of theft.  Hanada stole $490,000 from the club, which is a private organization with more than half its members not employed at Boeing.  Prosecutors said Hanada siphoned thousands to personal accounts over the course of six years. During her sentencing, Hanada tearfully claimed the embezzlement stemmed from a gambling addiction.  The judge sentenced Hanada to 22 months in prison and ordered her to pay restitution.  As a result of the thefts, the club had to increase member dues and ask members for a one-time fee of $395 to replace the building’s roof. The fee caused the club to lose half its members.

 Admin worker jailed for dealing cocaine after running up gambling debts

AN Edinburgh pensions administrator was jailed for 45 months today after turning to drug dealing when he ran up gambling debts.  Gareth Morris made £1000 clear profit after selling cocaine for a fortnight before police raided his flat. A judge told Morris, 34, that it was clear that he was involved in commercial dealing in the Class A drug. Lord Uist pointed out at the High Court in Edinburgh that he had a good job at the time. The judge noted that he had previous convictions for drug trafficking offences which had resulted in community service being imposed on him. Lord Uist said: “That sentence obviously did not have the desired effect as you returned to drug dealing. Mr Mckenzie said Morris became involved with “an illegal poker den” and got into debt. “He thought the way out was to gamble more but as often happens that backfired,” he said. “He found himself in the situation that the gambling was escalating and the debt was escalating,” he said.

 FBI raiding ‘body-rub’ joints in booming South Florida massage industry

Hidden in plain sight amid South Florida’s suburban storefront malls is a booming adult industry that local leaders and law enforcement officials worry may be a large-scale breeding ground for sexual slavery and human trafficking. It’s known as the “body-rub” business, a world of open-til-late massage parlors better known for blacked-out windows and neon signs, provocative ads and rumors of “happy endings” for cash than their therapeutic merit. In recent years, experts say, there has been an “exponential” surge of massage parlors in South Florida, particularly in Broward County where many of the parlors advertise their proximity to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. And many elected officials are concerned.  Along State Road 7 and Stirling Road in Hollywood and  Davie, dozens of storefront massage parlors now compete for the lunchtime professional trade and late-night gamblers.

FBI says Teddy Mitchell involved wife in illegal poker games    

The FBI claims Teddy Mitchell involved his wife in the illegal poker games at their Oklahoma City home before she was beaten to death in 2010. Teddy Mitchell, 58, is accused in a federal indictment of making millions of dollars by hosting illegal high-stakes poker games at his home and by illegally taking bets on sporting events. He has pleaded not guilty. His wife, Julie Mitchell, 34, was killed at their home Nov. 2, 2010, while he was traveling out of state. Police have not arrested anyone in her death. New details about the FBI investigation of Teddy Mitchell are in an 84-page court affidavit unsealed last week.

Mitchell’s “illegal gambling business … has been in continuous operation from at least 1990 to November 2010,” FBI Special Agent Francis J. Bowles Jr. reported in the affidavit. “Mitchell operated this illegal gambling business with the assistance of his wife Julie Bryant Mitchell, (his) sons Dryden Ryley Mitchell and Nick Mitchell … and others.” The agent reported more than 10 reliable witnesses provided statements that Julie Mitchell, Dryden Mitchell and Nick Mitchell “participated directly in the illegal gambling business by taking bets, dealing at poker games and/or keeping books and records of the illegal gambling activity.” One cooperating witness identified Julie Mitchell as a card dealer at the poker games, according to the court affidavit.

 Disbarred lawyer imprisoned for 8 years for stealing $1 million from clients

Disbarred lawyer Scott Rovenger pleaded guilty to defrauding more than $1 million from his South Florida clients and was immediately sentenced Monday to eight years in state prison. His elaborate fraud, which went on for 20 years, involved cheating so-called close friends and clients, forging signatures on checks and entering into fraudulent settlements that he lied about, according to a sworn confession he gave when he realized it was all caving in on him. He apologized and said he blew all the money on paying for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford. “I used it for some gambling, for some addictions I had, for some living expenses too,” Rovenger said. “I’m totally broke … I’ve lost everything.”

Assassin found guilty of stabbing man 32 times in karaoke bar

A clean-cut Xiao Ye Bai made the sign of the cross and bowed his head Monday afternoon to await the jury’s decision. The assassin held the prayerful pose and showed little emotion even as the verdict was read: guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder. Bai, 25, could face the death penalty for stabbing Wen Jun “James” Li 32 times in the middle of a crowded karaoke bar early on a summer morning three years ago. Prosecutors said Bai, a Chinese immigrant, was working as muscle for the Asian gang United Bamboo, collecting a $10,000 gambling debt, when he stabbed Li in the bar on Jones Boulevard near Spring Mountain Road on July 6, 2009. Two months before the attack, with Pei driving a car, Bai sat in the back seat with Li, demanding $10,000 and punching and slapping him until he was bleeding and bruised. Li was running a scam at casino baccarat tables that prosecutors believed was supported by Asian mobsters.

 Administration manager Wendy Hope Jobson stole and lost $8 million

A GAMBLING-addicted mother of two was “floored” to learn she had wasted almost $8 million on online pokies. Administration manager Wendy Hope Jobson used internet banking to siphon money from her hotel-business employer more than 1000 times over five years. Jobson, 50, wasted the money on a gambling website, spending most of it on a poker machine game called Doctor Love. She then used the frequent-flyer points gained on her credit card on luxury overseas fares. Jobson pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday to 1410 counts of theft. Mitchell Koroneos, managing director of The Koroneos Group, which owns three hotels in Geelong and another in Werribee, said he was alerted to unusual transactions by his bank manager in September last year. He was told that $10,000 had been transferred from the company’s accounts to Jobson’s account four times. A forensic investigation later revealed Jobson had stolen about $7.8 million.

 Feds charge Intrade with illegally selling bets

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators on Monday sued the online prediction market Intrade, saying it illegally let customers bet on future economic data, the price of gold and even possible acts of war. Intrade is known for allowing bets on presidential elections, sports and other high-profile events. The prices at which customers are willing to make those bets are cited as informal odds. For example, on Monday the site gave “Argo” a 28.5 percent chance of winning the Oscar for best picture and assigned a 19 percent chance that the United States or Israel would launch an airstrike against Iran by June 30. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a complaint in federal court that Intrade and its operator, Trade Exchange Network Ltd., sold investment contracts that technically are options. Options must be traded on approved, regulated exchanges.

 Suspect in baby, grandmother deaths lost at casino

BRIDGEPORT, Pa. (AP) — A young man mired in gambling debts told police he killed a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother during a botched kidnapping after losing at least $15,000 at a casino near his office. Raghunandan Yandamuri, 26, knew the family from his apartment complex. Like him, the baby’s parents were young technology professionals from India. He had gone to the wife’s birthday party, met the visiting grandmother and — tellingly — used family nicknames in a ransom note demanding $50,000. “They both are working, so I thought maybe they have some money,” Yandamuri told police in a videotaped statement played at his preliminary hearing Wednesday, during which a suburban Philadelphia judge ordered him to stand trial on murder, kidnapping and other charges. “My intention was not to kill anyone or not to harm anyone,” he said. “I only tried to kidnap the baby.” Yandamuri told investigators he panicked after the grandmother, who had opened the apartment door to him on Oct. 22, was killed in a struggle over a kitchen knife he had brought. He accidentally dropped the baby, put a handkerchief over her mouth to quiet her and tied a towel around her head, he told police. He then left the infant — with her dark hair, huge dark eyes and white dress — in a trash-strewn, unused sauna in a basement fitness center, he said.

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

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