A Brief Look at Crime 01/07 – 01/13

Woman dies from gunshot wound in apartment fight

A young woman was killed Saturday evening in an apparent confrontation at a Jacksonville apartment, police said. The unidentified woman, believed to be in her 20s, was shot, said Sgt. Shawn Coarsey of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office homicide unit.  The call came about 7:05 p.m. at an apartment in the 2400 block of East Lincoln Court. “Sounds like they were gambling, maybe rolling dice,” Coarsey said. There were several people in the apartment at the time, he said. A confrontation occurred and the woman was shot. Police do not know if she was the intended target or not. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where she died, Coarsey said.

Woman sentenced to 10 years in embezzlement case

A 60-year-old woman from Laurel was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison Friday for employee embezzlement that totaled more than $350,000. Brenda Taylor Wilson, originally of Salisbury, entered an Alford plea Nov. 14 as part of a plea agreement reached in the chambers of Wicomico County Circuit Court Judge W. Newton Jackson III. Jackson sentenced Wilson to 20 years in prison, with all but 10 suspended, as well as three years of supervised probation. Additionally, she was ordered to pay restitution of the stolen funds in excess of $350,000. Wilson was charged with stealing more than $180,000 from Richard J. “Dicky” Smith Jr. of Salisbury and Kimmerly Messick of Ocean City, as well as $150,000 from BRF Inc. and $21,000 from Chesapeake Airways, both formerly based in Salisbury.  The prosecution claimed she stole the money to gamble. “The court documents seem to speak for themselves, which is why she entered the Alford plea,” said Tamika Fulton, Wilson’s court appointed defense attorney.

 Multifest Executive Director to repay $435,000 in embezzlement plea

Multifest Executive Director Susan Stark, 55, pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges Friday in U.S. Federal Court. Stark admitted that she stole more than $300,000 from Multi Cultural Festival of WV, Inc, the organization that runs Multifest. The money was written in small checks to herself and family members for gambling expenses, according to court records. The money was not reported to the Internal Revenue Service as income. “Obviously $300,000 is a substantial amount of money to any company, but it’s especially significant to a small business or charity,” said US Attorney Booth Goodwin in a news release about the plea. ” Starks admitted that beginning in or about 2005 and continuing until 2010, she embezzled approximately $306,000 from MultiFest. She also admitted additional unreported taxable income of approximately $200,000.  

 Debtors’ Prison In Las Vegas

The recent arrest of retired NFL star Joey Porter in Bakersfield, Calif., spotlights the casino industry’s disturbing partnership with law enforcement.   Porter was arrested for an unpaid $70,000 gambling debt to the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.. This follows other high-profile instances where casinos have used the threat of imprisonment to force monetary payments, a stark contrast to the traditional American civil justice system.  Ostensibly, the bad check unit of Las Vegas’ Clark County District Attorney’s Office functions as a collection agency for the casinos. The unit prosecutes gamblers who do not pay their markers, which are loans from the casinos in Vegas parlance, and they even charge a 10 percent commission on their collections.   The law may strike one as unconstitutional, if not un-American at the very least, as it defies the American tradition of bankruptcy laws, rather than debtors’ prisons.

 Ex-Conn. casino tribe chairman charged with theft

The former chairman of the tribe that runs one of the world’s largest casinos and his brother, the tribe’s treasurer, have been charged with stealing a combined $800,000 from their Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, federal prosecutors in Connecticut said Friday. The indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Hartford follow a lengthy FBI investigation at the tribe’s tiny reservation in rural southeastern Connecticut, where it owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino. The former chairman, Michael Thomas, 44, is accused of stealing more than $100,000 between 2007 and 2009 during his tenure as leader of the tribal council, a position he was ousted from over his handling of the tribe’s finances. His brother, treasurer Steven Thomas, 38, allegedly stole more than $700,000 between 2005 and 2008 when he was assistant director of the tribe’s natural resources department.

 Gambler left suicide note

A man with a gambling habit hanged himself leaving a note saying he was broke and felt he had no future, an inquest heard yesterday. Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong said lessons could be learned from the tragic suicide of Alan Tidy if, as a result, other people with gambling and debt problems sought the help available to them. His friend, Peter Pearman, said he went to look for Mr Tidy on September 8 because he had not been heard from and was not answering his mobile phone. He went to Mr Tidy’s usual betting shop and then to his home, where he lived alone. He knocked on the doors but received no answer. Everything inside seemed to be in order but on looking through the bedroom window he saw Mr Tidy hanging. Mr Armstrong read part of a note left by Mr Tidy saying: “I’m sorry if I have let you down.  I can’t go on any more. I’m broke. There is no future any more. God bless you all.” He said it appeared from the evidence that Mr Tidy was gambling regularly, lost money, got into financial difficulties and was suffering from anxiety.

 Three Bookies Sentenced to Five Years in Prison:  One Shot His Wife

Three men have been sentenced for their role in a Columbia gambling ring authorities say is connected to a double murder suspect. U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says Lanny Ray Gunter was sentenced Tuesday to five months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Harry Benenhaley and Ronald Dale Spence were each sentenced to five years probation. The men pleaded guilty in October to running a gambling operation, taking in thousands of dollars on any given day. They were charged as a result of an investigation of another alleged sports bookie. Authorities say Brett Parker needed money and shot his wife, Tammy, and Bryan Capnerhurst – another alleged bookie – in the couple’s home in April to make it look like self-defense. Parker is still awaiting trial.

 FIFA bans 41 players due to match-fixing

The 41 had already been banned for life by the Korea Football Association following the scandal which erupted in 2011 and involved matches played the previous year. The scandal led the South Korean government to threaten to wind up the K-League if action was not taken.  Ten other players involved in match-fixing were given worldwide bans by FIFA in June while in March, South Korea’s volleyball association banned 11 players for life in a bid to curb corruption in domestic sport. FIFA said that a reprieve had been offered to 21 players who turned themselves in during the voluntary reporting period and expressed “grave regret” about their involvement in match-fixing. The players would have to undergo a probation period of between two and five years, including periods of community service ranging from 200 to 500 hours.

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

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