A Brief Look at Crime 12/24 – 12/30

47 cited at cockfight; 60 birds and $100,000 confiscated

A major raid on a cockfight in East Compton led to the detaining of 47 people, the confiscation of about $100,000 in bets and the discovery of nearly 60 birds Saturday morning, authorities said. “It was a high-stakes cockfight,” said Aaron Reyes, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. He said it was probably the largest one busted in Los Angeles County in several years. Several other birds were already dead in the backyard of the house in the 14600 block of Castlegate Avenue and eight others later had to be euthanized because of bad wounds suffered in the fights, according to Reyes. The investigation into the fight and ownership of the house is to continue, and further charges — including felony gambling ones — could result.

 Blackjack dealer stabbed by co-worker at Bellagio

A Bellagio blackjack dealer suffered deep cuts to her face after a colleague stabbed her while the two were inside a casino pit Friday night, officials said Saturday. It was the second violent incident in a  week inside a high-profile resort  on the Strip, the other being a murder-suicide at the Excalibur last weekend. Officer Marcus Martin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said the female victim, whose identity had not been released, was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where she was being treated for her wounds. Her condition wasn’t immediately known. Brenda J. Stokes, 50, was arrested in connection with the stabbing, and was being held at the Clark County Detention Center on a variety of charges – burglary; battery with a deadly weapon; battery with use of a deadly weapon with substantial bodily harm, and mayhem.

 Woman who gambled away elderly man’s savings pleads guilty

A woman accused of gambling away the life savings of an elderly Rogersville man she was caring for pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of theft over $60,000 in exchange for an eight-year sentence. According to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte Ann Hayes, 52, formerly of Rogersville, had been given power of attorney for Billy Davis of Rogersville while she was serving as Davis’ caretaker. Hayes was the ex-wife of one of Davis’ friends. The friend had worked for Davis as a handyman, and in recent years the friend had started helping Davis in his household. The HCSO received a tip from one of Davis’ family members in August of 2009 that Hayes was spending Davis’ life savings for her own use and not for the welfare and betterment of Davis. The amount was estimated by detectives in 2010 in excess of $100,000. Upon being questioned, Hayes admitted to taking funds from Davis to spend on a gambling habit, credit card bills, and assisting her family members with their bills. Hayes reportedly admitted to gambling with Davis’ money at the casino in Cherokee, N.C.

 Jewelry store employee gets year sentence for stealing $116,000

The province’s top court has overturned a conditional sentence handed down to an employee at a jewelry store in Lethbridge last May, for stealing $116,000 worth of property and pawning it off, and sent him to jail for a year. In its written decision released on Friday, the Alberta Court of Appeal said its frequent direction in such embezzlement cases a term of imprisonment is required, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Such as not the case for Juan Jose Calero-Perez, 23, as the judge overemphasized the importance of rehabilitation, treated his gambling addiction as mitigating and placed too much weight on his lack of record. The court also placed Calero-Perez on probation for two years after his release, during which he must take counselling and treatment as directed by his probation officer. He is also prohibited from any type of gambling or game of chance and cannot enter any casino, bingo hall or other place where gambling takes place.

 Vegas police investigate discovery of girl’s body

Police investigating the week-old disappearance of a 10-year-old Las Vegas girl were at the scene on Thursday of the discovery of a child’s body in an undeveloped housing tract in North Las Vegas.  Authorities didn’t immediately know if the body belonged to Jade Morris, Las Vegas police homicide Capt. Chris Jones said.  However, Jones also said: “I can tell you that the likelihood is that this is our victim.”  A passer-by called 911 about noon about a girl’s body in a remote area near Dorrell Lane and North 5th Street, North Las Vegas police said. That’s a short distance from the northern Las Vegas beltway and about 10 miles from downtown Las Vegas.  Jade was last seen by her family at about 5 p.m. last Friday with Brenda Stokes, police said. Stokes was later arrested after she was accused of slashing a co-worker with razor blades at the Bellagio resort casino. Stokes, 50, is now in jail.

 Jericho man scammed school out of millions

A Jericho man who federal authorities said stole more than $2 million from a South Korean school to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included fancy cars and gambling trips to Las Vegas has been arrested and charged with fraud.  Federal prosecutors Thursday said William R. Cosme, 46, also known as William R. Cosmo, conned the head of the school into giving him $5.5 million. In exchange, Cosme promised to invest the money, then use the earnings to lend the school $55 million so it could expand and build a new school. “Under the guise of investing their money, he ‘invested’ in fast cars and Vegas vacations for himself, playing fast and loose with the school’s money,” said George Venizelos, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office.

 Pickering minor hockey loses $725K to treasurer ‘with gambling bug’

Following the largest ever theft from a children’s hockey league in Canada, a former treasurer of the Pickering Hockey Association has been ordered by a judge to repay $725,000 in stolen money. Steve Scott’s embezzlement has stunned the PHA’s 400 volunteers, who spend weekends and evenings running minor hockey programs for 1,100 kids. “I never thought I’d see the day when something like this would happen in minor hockey,” said association president Don Linthwaite. “It brings a sense of disappointment and heartache for the people that do it for the right reasons. I don’t know how somebody could do it. How do you do that?” In a later meeting with the board, Scott resigned and admitted that he had been taking money from the PHA for 11 or 12 years, forging the signatures of association signing officers on cheques and gambling with the money, the court record states.

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

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