A Brief Look at Crime 03/24 – 03/30

VP of KenMor Electric stole, sold more than $300,000 in copper from job  

HOUSTON—The vice president of KenMor Electric Incorporated was charged with a felony after he allegedly ripped off more than $300,000 worth of scrap metal and copper from his own company. Fred Eugene Kuhn, 57, was charged with aggregated theft. Police said from January 4, 2012 to February 19, 2013, Kuhn stole over $200,000 worth of scrap metal copper from his job and sold it for his own personal gain. Investigators ran Kuhn’s name in the state’s database for scrap metal and were led to AllStar Recycling, the scrap yard where Kuhn allegedly took the stolen material. When Kuhn did not go to the yard, he had one of his workers do it for him. That worker never received a dime of money, saying he was just following orders from his boss, so he was not charged, police said. When investigators interviewed Kuhn, he allegedly told them that he had a gambling problem and owed the IRS. Charges were filed and his bond was set at $600,000. Kuhn worked for KenMor since November 1978.

 Bank worker jailed for stealing over £750,000

A REDDITCH bank worker stole more than £750,000 to fund his gambling addiction, a court heard. Benjamin Sookia, of Outwood Close in Oakenshaw, was jailed for five years at Hereford Crown Court on Thursday (March 21) after admitting to three charges of theft by an employee and three counts of fraud by abuse of position. The 26-year-old, who was a counter support officer for Lloyds Banking Group at the Halifax branch in Evesham Walk, stole a total of £752,115. Det con Dianne Knight said the offences only came to light when the bank discovered Sookia’s gambling habit and he confessed to stealing the money. She said: “Sookia was a man of previous good character but he clearly had a very serious gambling addiction which got out of hand.

 Gambling addictions fuel large-scale embezzlements

Before 2003, Bob Pedersen had limited knowledge about the evils of compulsive gambling. But a shocking crime that came to light midway through that year forever changed Pedersen and the company he heads, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin. The Menasha-based nonprofit organization’s controller was accused of embezzling more than $500,000 to satisfy a gambling addiction. The controller, who lost the money at various casinos in Wisconsin, eventually was convicted, sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to make restitution. “I wasn’t completely aware of the nature of intensity of what goes on with gambling addictions,” Pedersen, Goodwill’s president and chief executive officer, said last week in reflecting on the nearly 10-year-old embezzlement that rocked Goodwill. “It’s a big issue. And a lot of people are into some pretty deep water.”

Wellington title company owner gets 5 years in prison, ordered to pay $3 million for bank fraud

Wellington resident Dawn Herndon was sentenced Monday to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million after pleading guilty to federal charges that she diverted money from her title company to gamble and pay personal expenses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Herndon in September with five counts of fraud on a financial institution allegedly committed while she ran Accurate Title Closings LLC. Before the sentencing, Herndon said in a memo to the court that the majority of the more than $3.3 million in diverted mortgage monies was lost through “addictive gambling.”

Eight people killed in attack on Kenyan casino

Eight people were killed when dozens of machete-wielding raiders struck a casino popular with tourists and local Italian residents in the coastal Kenyan town of Malindi early on Thursday morning, police said. Armed officers shot dead six of the attackers suspected to be members of a banned coastal separatist group while two policeman were also killed, police official Ambrose Munyasia said. A series of attacks blamed on the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) has damaged the prospects for growth and investment along Kenya’s coast, a major tourist draw, and in Mombasa, an economically vital port city. “A gang of 50 MRC suspects armed with machetes and other crude weapons raided a casino in Malindi and started attacking patrons before police were called,” Munyasia told Reuters from the city of Mombasa, about 120 km south of Malindi.

Caesars Fined $225k

Caesars Entertainment Corp has been handed a $225,000 fine by New Jersey gaming regulators for its part in the case of Terrance Watanabe, 52, a rich businessman who in 2007 went on one of the biggest losing streaks in Las Vegas history. That’s when the self-confessed gambling addict lost around $127 million at Caesars Palace and Rio casinos, accounting for 5.6% of Harrah’s Entertainment’s Las Vegas gambling revenue that year. However, after the casino tried to retrieve a $14.7 million outstanding loan from Mr Watanabe, the Nebraska businessman took the casino to court claiming Harrah’s had plied him with alcohol and painkillers whilst gambling. The civil suit was later reportedly settled by the two parties for $100,000.

Apparently, as a gambler Terrance Watanabe was unbelievably bad and at the time Caesars even gave him a 30% rebate on his losses. Painting an unflattering picture of their one time special customer, Caesars also alleged that Terrance Watanabe used cocaine, marijuana and made sexual advances toward their staff. Nevertheless, the casino still bent over backwards to ensure he remained a customer and afforded him special treatment, including reassigning employees he didn’t like. Ironically, New Jersey gaming regulators saw this as an example of the casino allowing his behavior to go unchecked in order to line its own pockets, which proved important in imposing the $225,000 fine.

 Miami city commission: confiscate gambling ‘maquinitas’

A week after Miami’s mayor called the video-gaming machines he once championed “illegal,’’ city commissioners directed the administration to arrange the seizure of the 1,000 or so machines scattered across cafeterias and video arcades. Commissioners, riding an anti-gaming wave flowing through the state legislature — which is set on making the machines illegal — said the devices are out of compliance because not a single operating permit mandated by a 2010 city ordinance has been purchased. The elected body unanimously told City Manager Johnny Martinez to seize the machines, and urged state legislators to finally declare them illegal. “I don’t think you can make an argument; they either have a [permit], or they don’t,’’ said Commissioner Francis Suarez, who sponsored the resolution.

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

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