Monthly Archives: May 2013

New Federal Online Gambling Bill to be Introduced

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many ongoing attempts to overturn UIGEA and pass federal legislation to allow federal internet gambling.  Time and time again, these federal attempts have failed and federal online gambling has remained illegal.  States have been working to allow online gambling in their jurisdiction after an Obama Administration ruling opened the door and Nevada has been pushing the envelope. Now it appears that a new federal bill is being introduced, but this time by someone other than Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl.    An online source explains:

Despite the fact that many states are beginning to pass legislation which will allow online poker <>  and gambling options in the individual states, gamblers would still like to see federal legislation passed so the option can be made available nationwide.

Last year, Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl tried to pass federal legislation for the but could not gain enough steam to see the bill move. Now, Peter King, a Representative of New York State, has announced that he is creating a new federal online gaming bill.

Nevada has already launched online poker options with the start of Ultimate Poker and Delaware and New Jersey are on their way to offering online gambling options in the their respective states very soon. California and Pennsylvania are also in discussions for legislation and as more states begin to allow the option, even more states get in on the action.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/20 – 05/26

Mississippi Casino In $75m Lawsuit Over Gambler’s Death

A Mississippi casino is currently facing a hefty multi-million dollar bill after a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit accusing the gambling venue of serving so many free drinks to a heavily medicated man that he later collapsed and died. The incident took place at the IP Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi back in August 2009, with the $75 million lawsuit subsequently being filed in 2012 by the man’s family in the U.S. District Court in Gulfport. The victim, Bryan Lee Glenn, 30, had apparently been taking an array of painkillers and antipsychotic drugs to treat his ailments stemming from a car accident in 2004, which left him with a traumatic brain injury, and another automobile accident in 2007, which left him with an injured back.

IRS slams Miccosukee Indians with $170 million in tax liens

The Internal Revenue Service has slammed the Miccosukee Indians with a bill of $170 million for the West Miami-Dade tribe’s failure to report and withhold taxes from its distribution of gambling profits to tribal members, according to court records. In a long-running battle, the IRS also has smacked hundreds of the tribe’s members with separate bills totaling $58 million for their failure to pay personal income taxes on those distributions during the same period, 2000 to 2005, records show.  The agency’s crackdown comes after years of fighting with the 600-member tribe over its refusal to pay taxes on the distribution of profits from its casino operation off the Tamiami Trail. The assessments for back taxes, interest and penalties, outlined in federal tax lien notices filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, reveal for the first time the sheer scope of the tribe’s tax problems with the IRS.

Woman stole nearly $250,000 from employer to fuel gambling habit

Bridgeton police say an office manager stole $243,000 from her employer to gamble at the casino. Janet Hopkins, 62, of House Springs, was arrested and charged with stealing. Authorities say Hopkins issued payroll checks to herself at Machine Center, Inc. over the last three years. Police documents state that Hopkins confessed to taking money for a gambling habit. She told police in 2012 and 2013 she lost $62,000 at the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights.  Melodye Harris-Juelfs, a licensed counselor, said addicted gamblers often turn to stealing. “Their intentions are they’re going to win it back and pay it back before anybody finds out,” said Harris-Juelfs. “All they have to do is get that one big win.”

 Finance manager siphoned off $800K

He gambled in casinos and on stocks, and was in debt to the tune of $500,000. So Lee Lim Kiong siphoned nearly $800,000 from his employer. The 43-year-old was yesterday jailed for 41/2 years, after pleading guilty to two charges of criminal breach of trust as a servant involving $205,415. Three other similar charges were considered. Lee, who already had a gambling habit, started to go to casinos in Macau when he went to Hong Kong on business. His gambling habit became an addiction, said the lawyer. She added that he had sought treatment for his gambling addiction, and urged the court to give weight to his voluntary surrender and confession as evidence of his genuine remorse and contrition.

YCCAC embezzler gets 30 months

A federal court judge told Thomas Nelson that she expects him to work once hea’s released from prison and pay back upwards of $1 million that he stole from York County Community Action Corporation to finance his gambling addiction Tuesday. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torreson sentenced Nelson, 56, the former executive director of YCCAC, to 30 months in federal prison and to the maximum period of supervised release, three years. As part of the probation, he will be expected to work or perform 20 hours of community service weekly. He was ordered to pay about $700,000 in restitution to YCCAC, $500,000 to an insurance company that partially reimbursed YCCAC for their loss and $148,700 to the Internal Revenue Service. She said while Nelson took so-called “unrestricted” funds and not federal money that funded social service programs, the money he took could have been used to help people. “You stole the money from people in our society who can least afford it,” she told Nelson.

Couple stole almost $1 million from South Whitehall Township to feed gambling habit, authorities say

An Emmaus couple stole close to a million dollars from South Whitehall Township in an elaborate embezzlement scheme using residents’ utility payments to pay for their lifestyle and feed their gambling habits, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office. Charges filed today against Nancy A. Tonkin, 66, a former township utilities supervisor, and her husband William J. Tonkin IV, 69, an ex-township cop, followed a roughly year-long investigation.  A Lehigh County grand jury recommended several felony charges April 26 against the Tonkins after investigation revealed they stole $854,497 from 1999 to 2012, authorities said. Residents victimized in the so-called lapping scheme — where Nancy Tonkin allegedly skimmed money for utility payments while trying to cover her tracks with others’ deposits — have had their accounts straightened up, authorities said.

 Manager Embezzled $243,277 From Bridgeton Company to Fund Gambling Habit

An office manager is accused of embezzling $243,277 over three years from a Bridgeton business to fund her gambling habit, police said. Janet Hopkins, 62, of House Springs, was charged May 10 with stealing more than $25,000, a class B felony. Bridgeton Police said an investigation showed Hopkins, the office manager for Machine Center at 4344 Bridgeton Industrial Drive, had stolen $243,277 between January 2010 and March 2013. As office manager, part of her duties was managing payroll. Police said she issued herself unauthorized paychecks and used the owner’s signature stamp to sign the checks. According to a court document, Hopkins told police she stole the money to fund her gambling habit. Police said she lost $62,370 at Harrah’s and Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights in 2012 and 2013.

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

UPDATE: Casino Industry’s Attempt to Extend Credit in Missouri Casinos Failed

Casino Watch Focus reported on a bill filed that was introduced in the Missouri legislature to allow casinos to extend lines of credit to gamblers.  In a letter to Missouri Senators, Mark Andrews, Casino Watch Chairman, urged a “no” vote on HB 747.  Shortly thereafter, a Senate committee took up the bill.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that the bill didn’t make it to the Senate floor:

In a vote this afternoon that surprised supporters, the Senate Commerce, Energy and Environment Committee deadlocked 4-4 on the measure, with two members absent. Tie votes kill bills. Sen. Joe Keaveny, who supported the bill, said he doubts there is time to resurrect it. The legislative session ends May 17.

Opponents said the legislation was not tailored solely to high rollers. Average Missourians would get in trouble if they had access to credit while gambling, the critics said.

Mark Andrews of Casino Watch, an anti-gambling group, sent a letter to the committee to urge a “no” vote. Andrews cited a 2006 Florida study that said access to credit accelerates the problems of addicted gamblers. “The very nature of compulsive gambling makes this transition from gambling with cash to gambling on credit a significant step, with repercussions for the gambler and his or her family and friends, employers, creditors and other contacts,” the study found, according to Andrews.

The bill could be brought back up next year, but for now, Missouri Families have been saved by these efforts.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/13 – 05/19

Mumbai diamond broker’s son abducted, killed by cousin

A south Mumbai diamond broker’s teenage son was kidnapped for ransom and murdered with the complicity of the boy’s cousin who was a habitual gambler and heavily in debt, police said Tuesday. Thirteen-year-old Aditya Ranka’s body was found at Pali village near Navi Mumbai late on Tuesday. His 25-year-old cousin Himanshu Ranka, and Himanshu’s friend Vijesh Sanghvi (28), were arrested. V P Road police said Himanshu and Vijesh were addicted to betting on cricket matches and deep in debt. They said Himanshu identified the target, while Vijesh carried out the kidnapping and murder. A ransom call was made to Jitendra’s cell phone, who initially took it as a joke. But upon learning that his son had gone out after receiving a call, he registered a complaint,” the officer said.  According to police, as Vijesh was driving towards Navi Mumbai, Aditya tried to escape, following which he stabbed the boy to death. He then pulled over at a quiet spot, transferred the body to the boot, and drove to Pali village. There, he allegedly tried to burn the body and then abandoned it near a farmhouse.

 Officials sentenced for embezzling

The last two officials convicted of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux tribe in the Dakotas have been sentenced for their roles in the crime. Jacqueline Wanna, 67, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen to six months of house arrest and five years of probation, the American News reported. Tammie Strutz, 52, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The defendants together also must pay nearly $346,000 in restitution. Authorities say Strutz stole the most money, at about $122,000, while Charlene Wanna took about $93,000, Jacqueline Wanna $77,000 and LaBelle about $53,000. Strutz admitted she gambled away the money she stole.

Stole over $400,000, man says he is sorry

The former manager of a north-end gas bar who defrauded the owner of between $400,000 and $500,000 stood in a Brantford courtroom on Monday and apologized to the victim and to his own family. Court heard that Homenuk used the money to fund his addiction to online gambling. For some time, the station managed by Homenuk was the only one of the Davis Fuel-owned stations that was not making money. An examination of the business records by an accountant revealed discrepancies going back to 2004. It was eventually revealed that Homenuk had been regularly fudging the numbers on the gas station’s paperwork to hide his theft of what he later admitted ranged from $100 to $600 a day.

 Former Malden mayor’s aide pleads guilty to two charges

A former Malden mayoral aide and city solicitor could face seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty Monday in Middlesex County Superior Court to charges stemming from a money laundering scheme with ties to organized crime. Charles Toomajian, 55, pleaded guilty to larceny and accessory after the fact to a felony after procecutors agreed to drop conspiracy charges he also faced. Appearing before Judge Jane Haggerty, prosecutors said they are seeking a 5- to 7-year sentence. Toomajian also could be ordered to pay up to $350,000 in restitution when he is sentenced May 28. According to the indictments, Toomajian served as an intermediary between Charles Davis of Stoneham, who allegedly owed large gambling debts, and bookmaker Joseph Giallanella of North Andover, who along with Davis also was charged as a member of Rossetti’s network, prosecutors said. Davis worked for staffing company Randstad Professionals in Wakefield, where he had access to the corporate checkbook. To pay off his gambling debts, he wrote company checks, which were deposited into an account at Toomajian’s private law practice.

Amid Scandals, NY Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos Warns Members About Casino Cash

With the state capital besieged by criminal investigations, Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos has warned his members about taking campaign donations from gambling interests. Skelos issued the warning during a closed-door meeting with his members this past week after it was revealed that ex-state Sen. Shirley Huntley recorded six state senators, all of them Democrats like herself, for the FBI. With the push to legalize casinos heating up, gambling interest groups and their lobbyists in the last two years have given generously to legislators, Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group found. Among the donations were a combined $1.2 million to Skelos; the Senate Republican campaign committee he controls; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Democratic campaign committee he controls and the chairs of the gaming committees in each house.

But with the feds sniffing around Albany, Skelos urged GOPers to be smart, sources said. “He said, ‘I’m not taking any money from gambling interests now and I would urge the members to be extremely careful. People are watching very closely,’ ” one senator said. The senator said Skelos recalled how the Democrats who controlled the chamber in 2009-10 got caught up in a potential bid-rigging scandal when awarding a contract to operate the Aqueduct racino in Queens. The contract has since been scrapped and the FBI is said to be looking into the matter.

 Iovation Investigated by Nevada Officials:  Company Linked to Poker Cheating Scandal

Nevada State Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett has stated in an email that regulators are looking into identification verification firm Iovation and its relationship to licensed online poker company UltimatePoker. Iovation had ties to an insider cheating scandal at, a now defunct online poker site. UltimatePoker was the first legal online poker site to go live in Nevada two weeks ago.  Players having difficulties registering were greeted with an error message from Iovation, which in turn helped in verifying its involvement with UltimatePoker.  The online poker company announced it had severed ties with Iovation earlier in the week.

Ex-Bank of America manager gets 37 months in embezzlement case

Former Bank of America manager Donnie Wright was sentenced Thursday, May 16, to 37 months in prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from his employer. U.S. District Judge Sam R, Cummings ordered Wright, 53, to pay $385,356 in restitution in installments after his release from prison and required he have five years’ supervised release. Wright also was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service during the first two years after his release. Cummings apparently set aside a request by Shery Kime-Goodwin, the federal public defender representing Wright, to reduce the sentence because “my client developed a gambling addiction that was very powerful.” Amanda Burch, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case, did not object. According to Kime-Goodwin’s motion for a reduction in the sentence, Wright resigned from the bank after admitting to the thefts in 2010, and devoted his time to addressing the gambling addiction.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/06 – 05/12

Gambler jailed for killing elderly friend in his Rochdale home

A gambler who let himself into his elderly pal’s home, lay in wait for him and then murdered him for his pension money has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years. Frail Vincent Kershaw, 84, died at his house at Willow Lane, Milnrow, Rochdale, after being knocked unconscious with a rubber mallet by Michael Fearon, who he had trusted with a set of keys. Manchester Crown Court heard that the killer was a ‘pathological gambler’ – and that Mr Kershaw was known to carry large sums of money on him.  Before his death a pal had warned the well-liked pensioner about carrying wads of cash about, telling him to ‘put it in the bank, someone is going to bang you on the head and take it off you’, Simon Medland QC, prosecuting, said. Mr Kershaw lay unconscious, bleeding and helpless on the kitchen floor for two days before he died. Fearon, 57, a builder, of Timbercliff, Littleborough, admitted murder yesterday as his trial was due to begin.

Man shot, killed Sunday night in west Tulsa

Tulsa police are investigating an overnight homicide after an injured man knocked on doors in a west Tulsa neighborhood. The man was transported to a local hospital where he later died. Investigators say no one in the neighborhood near 7th Street and Charles Page Boulevard reports seeing what happened to the victim, identified as 43-year-old Donald Treat. No suspect information is currently available. Police describe Treat as a white man in his 40s and believe he lived in the neighborhood. Police have found no motive at this time, though Treat’s family says he had a gambling addiction and could have owned someone money.

Fannin Co. Couple Pleads Guilty In Embezzlement Case

A woman accused of embezzling nearly a million dollars enters her plea in court, and prosecutors say she was eventually caught because of her high rate of attendance.  Prosecutors say the former Fannin County Electric Co-op clerk now admits to stealing large sums of cash. “Over a period of four years or more, she stole more than $800,000,” says District Attorney Richard Glaser. Prosecutors say Tabitha Caplinger was in charge of training other billing clerks. “She was able to not only collect the money as it came in, but code it for billing purposes and cover her tracks,” says Glaser. “Stuff like that happens all the time and it’s just one more case,” says neighbor Paul Henkel. Prosecutors say a majority of the missing money, about $500,000, came from a single electricity account with the city of Irving, which has a pump at a reservoir in Fannin County, but no one in Irving apparently noticed a problem with their bill. Prosecutors say the Caplingers lost much of the money at Choctaw Casino. “They had records of her gambling up there and she’d lost over $400,000,” says Glaser.

Homebuilder Steals Federal Money For Gambling Habit

A federal court jury in Las Vegas found a Nevada-based homebuilder guilty of siphoning off federal money that was supposed to be used to build Navajo Nation affordable homes for his own gambling and personal expenses. U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden says 69-year-old William Aubrey faces up to 10 years in federal prison and $500,000 in fines following his conviction Thursday of two counts of conversion of money and funds from a tribal organization. The jury acquitted a co-defendant, Chester Carl. A federal public defender representing Aubrey didn’t immediately respond Friday to messages. Bogden says Aubrey, of Mesquite, owned a company called Lodgebuilder that contracted from 1996 to 2004 with the Navajo nonprofit Fort Defiance Housing Corp. to build homes on tribal land in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Robber who bound and blindfolded Costco employees gets 25 years

An armed robber who terrorized employees in a series of heists across Nova Scotia has been given a 25-year prison sentence. The Crown recommended that Jermaine Carvery serve a life sentence for the robberies, which netted $500,000 in cash and goods for Carvery and his crew. Carvery was sentenced on charges of attempted murder, robbery and forcible confinement. The robberies occurred at a Costco in Halifax, a TRA Cash and Carry in Truro and Chrissy’s Trading Post in Hammonds Plains. All of the robberies happened in 2004 and involved employees being held hostage. At the Costco, the robbers bound and in some cases blindfolded about 40 employees over a 2 1/2 hour period as they arrived for work. The defence asked for 15 to 20 years in prison, saying Carvery is remorseful and committed the crimes to feed a gambling habit.     

Pa. nonprofit founder charged with stealing $530K

A Lycoming County man faces felony theft charges for allegedly stealing more than $500,000 from the nonprofit company he founded to help troubled youths. An affidavit filed Friday by the district attorney’s office charges that 46-year-old James McCloy of Jersey Shore stole more than $530,000 between 2009 and 2012 from Susquehanna House Inc. The affidavit claims he spent it on things that included gambling and strip clubs, divorce payments to his ex-wife and loan payments on his former residence. McCloy is the founder and president of Susquehanna House, which owns properties in Linden, Jersey Shore, Montoursville and Williamsport, Pa., and Atlantic City, N.J. It says it provides residential services, foster care and transitional living for youths.

Ex-YWCA CFO charged with embezzlement

A former chief financial officer accused of stealing more than $280,000 from YWCA Oklahoma City was charged with embezzlement Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court. Shannon Marie Rickards, 41, of Oklahoma City, admitted to charity executives and investigators that she transferred ownership of two bank cards to her name to steal funds, court records show. One of those cards was issued to Jan Peery, chief executive officer of YWCA Oklahoma City, records show. Rickards is accused of embezzling $281,410 between October 2010 and January 2013, according to a probable cause affidavit. The store accepts donated clothing and resells items to support YWCA programs, including crisis services for battered women and children. Some of the donated clothing also is given directly to battered women and children who seek YWCA assistance when fleeing violent situations. Rickards told investigators she used the cards at automated teller machines to withdraw funds from an account that belonged to the resale shop. Security footage shows Rickards using the cards at ATMs inside gambling facilities, prosecutors said. She also admitted to altering bank statements to cover up the embezzlement.

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



Missouri Looking to Extend Credit to Gamblers


Gambling on Credit:  A Bad Idea

In a letter to the Missouri Senate Casino Watch urges Senators to vote no on HB747.  Chairman, Mark Andrews, hopes the senate will look at research on the question and vote in favor of the people of Missouri, not cave in to just another casino expansion idea:

Dear Senators:

It was my pleasure to address your fine institution many times in the past 20 years on the gambling issue prior to my retirement and move.  But I return via this letter regarding HB747 urging you to vote no.

Much has been written on this subject that would suggest a “no” vote.  For example, “Gambling On Credit:  Exploring the Link Between Compulsive Gambling and Access to Credit”, 2006, FL Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.  This was a think tank of representatives from medical, legal, government, education, credit counseling and addiction treatment perspectives.  Please consider a few quotes from this study.

“Access to credit allows an individual to continue gambling whether or not he or she has actual cash in hand. The very nature of compulsive gambling makes this transition from gambling with cash to gambling on credit a significant step with repercussions for the gambler and his or her family and friends, employers, creditors and other contacts”.

“Participants expressed the belief that easy access to credit accelerates the problem and process of a gambling addiction….”.

“Personal consequences may include new addictions, depression or suicide, while financial consequences may include higher levels of debt, ruined credit, and loss of a home, car or other property – all of which create a devastating situation for the compulsive gambler and his or her family”.

The carving in marble high on the wall of your chamber will always be remembered for its clarity and profoundness:  “Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong”.  Don’t get me wrong here—I’m not speaking of the morality of gambling–rather the passing of a bill that will surely bring harm to many people who struggle with some level of addiction to gambling.  It is not worthy of Missouri to attempt to address its public financial strains by enticing its citizens to increase their personal financial risks.

Thank you for your consideration on this important issue.


Mark Andrews


Casino Watch

Andrews references the State motto “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law” in making the point that it is time once again for the General Assembly to hold the line on casino expansion and keep the current regulation in place.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 04/29 – 05/05

Wife pleads guilty in shooting death

Almost a year after he was found dead in his Papoose Lane home, Kevin Brown’s wife recently confessed to his murder as part of a plea deal with the office of District Attorney Mike Burns. Before her murder trial was set to begin, a source in the district clerk’s office confirmed Sarah Brown accepted an offer resulting in a 40-year prison sentence. County records show she also incurred a $3,000 fine and $219 in court costs. Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said when Brown, a 50-year-old U.S. Army National Guard First Sergeant, did not report to work one day early last May, his coworkers became concerned and contacted authorities. When investigators went to his home and detected an odor emanating from inside, Mercer said authorities obtained a search warrant and ultimately discovered a “white male wrapped in plastic bags in the house.” Investigators later determined the man had been shot in the face. Several individuals close to the Browns told the Index the couple had significant marital problems. Drug use and gambling are among the allegations levied against Sarah Brown, and a neighbor reported seeing the couple fight publicly about finances.

Debt-ridden auto driver held for murdering sister-in-law

The Mumbai Crime Branch on Wednesday arrested a 45-year-old man for allegedly murdering his sister-in-law after she refused to lend him money. The suspect, Santosh Jagannath Sawant, was also booked for robbery after Rs 3.5 lakh of jewellery and other valuables belonging to the victim were recovered from him. Santosh is a resident of Gajmukh Society in Gorai, Borivali West. The police said that he spent most of his money on drinking and gambling, and had run up a huge debt. He had asked Sangeeta to lend him money several times, but she refused. On April 26, he allegedly decided to kill her and steal her jewellery. “He went to the victim’s house around 11 am and killed her with a knife,” said Inspector Vinayak Vatsa. He injured his left hand while committing the murder, and left a pair of cotton gloves he was wearing at the scene. His shirt was also stained, but he dumped it in Gorai Creek, Vatsa said.

Woman with personality disorder stole $8m

A Melbourne court has heard a woman who stole almost $8 million from her employers has multiple personality disorder. Wendy Hope Jobson, of Werribee, west of Melbourne, pleaded guilty to stealing the money from the Victorian hotel chain the Koroneos Group. She took the money in 1,400 separate transactions over 6 years and gambled it away through online gambling sites. The Victorian Supreme Court heard she also used the money to buy a house, car and holidays.

Smithtown Man Pleads Guilty to $3.1M Wire Fraud Scheme

A Smithtown man pleaded guilty Friday to stealing $3.1 million in retirement savings from unsuspecting victims in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere, gambling much of it on sporting events. According to the criminal charges filed today in the Eastern District of New York, Swanson misrepresented his job, background, and investment experience to his victims, and then provided the victims with false reports touting his investments’ performance. These misrepresentations fraudulently induced the victims to invest with Swanson, who, officials said, stole and squandered their retirement savings for his own benefit, including gambling his victims’ savings on sporting events. “Just as Swanson played fast and loose with the truth, he also played with his victims’ money, gambling much of it away on sporting events. Due to the combined efforts of law enforcement, the real Swanson will now receive the only payout his actions deserve: fraud charges, a guilty plea, and the prospect of a significant jail sentence.”

Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Approx. $1.3 Million From Employer

An Arcade woman plead guilty, as charged, Monday morning after she stole approximately $1.3 million from her employer. The embezzlement occurred while employed as a bookkeeper for American Stainless Corporation in Buffalo. Davis also admitted she evaded paying state income taxes by failing to report these ill-gotten earnings on her NYS Income Tax returns. Davis used the money for gambling, buying a tow-truck business named “Triple Star Towing,” which she named after her favorite slot machine game, and to purchase various consumer goods.

Ex-bank executive sentenced on fraud charges

former investment broker with PNC Bank was sentenced Monday to 42 months in federal prison on charges he swindled more than $700,000 from the bank and eight customers.  Nicholas Polito Jr., of Scranton, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo on a charge of bank fraud. Polito’s attorneys, Patrick Casey and Lawrence Moran, blamed addictions to alcohol and gambling for why their client stole investments from eight elderly customers of PNC Bank. Federal authorities said Polito was working as an investment broker with PNC Bank in Scranton when he stole money from 2005 to November 2011. “The nature and circumstances of the offense is extremel  serious,” Caputo told Polito, noting Polito violated the “trust” he earned from his employer and customers.

Former VP at First National Bank of Whitney sentenced to seven years

A former vice president at the First National Bank of Whitney, who said her gambling addiction drove her to embezzle more than 
$6 million from the Hill County bank, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in federal prison. Mary Helen “Murty” Lane, 58, apologized to bank officials for betraying the trust they bestowed on her. “I’d like to ask for forgiveness, but I actually understand if that is not possible,” she said. Lane, who worked at the bank for 27 years, pleaded guilty in Waco’s 
federal court in March to theft, 
embezzlement or misapplication by a bank officer or employee during a 10-year period. Federal officials say she used the money she stole to finance lavish gambling trips to Las Vegas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, to buy sports cars and pay her debts.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 04/22 – 04/28

Teachers union dues spent on gambling

The former head of a central NY teachers union spent $800,000 in union dues to buy groceries, clothes and gamble. The woman, who died last year after heading the Auburn Teachers Association for 35 years, is believed to have misappropriated union funds for seven years, ending in 2012, according to a report by the Post-Standard of Syracuse. The current union head announced the discovery during an emergency meeting Monday, according to the report.

 Crestwood chiropractor gets 6 years inprison

ST. LOUIS   •   A Crestwood chiropractor, Dr. Anthony W. “Tony” Calandro, was sentenced to six years in federal prison Tuesday for health care fraud and other charges and ordered to repay $1 million, primarily to insurance companies. Calandro billed those companies for services that had not been provided, including “thousands” of procedures when patients didn’t show and “numerous” X-rays from 2006 to 2011, prosecutors have said. He also lied about the ownership of pension fund assets and stole more than $50,000 from his neighborhood association, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dorothy McMurtry said. Calandro lawyer Al Watkins told U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber Tuesday that Calandro was motivated by his desire to help financially support his family, not by greed. But McMurtry pointed out that Calandro used $25,000 of the money stolen from his neighborhood association for landscaping services, not to support his family, and withdrew money from the association’s account at a casino after he had been convicted in the health care case.

Sports book owner found dead

An owner of a recently closed online sports book was found dead from a gunshot to the head Friday, according to the Antigua Observer. Steve Schillinger, a co-owner of World Sports Exchange (, was found by friends in his condominium with a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the report. Schillinger, along with partners Jay Cohen and Hayden Ware, was indicted in the U.S. in 1999 for allegedly violating the Wire Wager act. Schillinger elected to stay in Antigua, where the online sports book and casino was based, rather than return to the U.S. to face charges. announced last week that it was no longer able to operate. It posted the following message on its website.

Police break up gambling ring

Officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBS), which deals specifically with organised crime, carried out over 800 searches in connection with the operation. “This is the biggest nationwide action to date concerning illegal gambling,” Inspector Mariusz Sokolowski told the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “It has shocked that community, and hopefully it will hamper its development,” he added. Among those detained is the alleged leader of the gambling ring, Adam G. (full name withheld under Polish privacy laws), who has been charged with money-laundering, together with one other suspect. According to police, Adam G. had attempted to pass off his operations as an official business, but avoided paying the high tax level that is necessary for companies operating gambling firms.  It is estimated that the gambling ring was netting annual profits of up to 150 million (36 million euro) through Internet Gaming Machines.

Wife’s gambling losses lead to kidnap hoax

A woman’s attempt to hide her casino losses lead to her staging her own kidnapping on Tuesday night. This morning at around 8, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded a report of a kidnapping and robbery at the Zephyr Cove Lodge. An employee of Zephyr Cove noticed banging coming from the trunk of an older Silver Mercedes Benz. Locating the keys in the ignition, she opened the truck and found 42 year old Kim Vo of South Lake Tahoe. Deputies arrived and met with the victim, Vo who told them she had been gambling at the Lakeside Inn last night and left the casino with approximately $1,500.00 in cash. She continued stating that as she was walking back to her vehicle, someone struck her over the head with an unknown object knocking her unconscious. She later woke up in the truck of her vehicle and the money missing. During the course of the investigation, the whole story changed and Vo admitted to Investigators that she lied. Vo admitted she had gambled and lost all of her paycheck. She fabricated the story because she was afraid to tell her husband that she had gambled away her entire paycheck.

NY teachers union: Ex-president stole $800K

Authorities in central New York say they’re investigating a teachers union claim that its former longtime president stole more than $800,000 from the organization before committing suicide last year. Auburn police tell local media outlets that they’re investigating the alleged theft after it was reported this week by the Auburn Teachers Association. The union says a forensic audit revealed Sally Jo Widmer misappropriated about $808,000 in dues from 2006 to 2012. Widmer was the union’s president for more than 30 years. Police say she committed suicide at her Yates County home on Nov. 7, two days before her 64th birthday. Union officials say they discovered accounting irregularities while going through financial records a day after her death. Union officials say she spent the money on vacations, gambling meals and clothing.

Babysitter Allegedly Left Kids At Home In Order To Gamble At Casino 

This is something that has happened way too many times. The McAlester News-Capital reported Thursday that a woman in Oklahoma, who was babysitting a 4-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy, has been accused of leaving the children at her home, and then going to gamble at a nearby casino. Toni Webb, 38 years of age, was reportedly charged last week in Pittsburg County District Court with two counts of child neglect stemming from her alleged decision. Opponents of casinos have long argued against the social ills. It’s unclear whether Webb has a gambling problem. She was reportedly found at the Choctaw casino by police on one occasion.

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