A Brief Look at Crime 06/17 – 06/23

Shots at Potawatomi Bingo Casino send patrons fleeing

Patrons enjoying the early hours of Father’s Day at Potawatomi Bingo Casino apparently helped get a handgun away from an angry man who already had fired multiple shots on the casino’s gaming floor Sunday. The suspect, a 27-year-old Wauwatosa man, fired a handgun and wounded a 23-year-old Milwaukee woman about 1:30 a.m., Milwaukee police Sgt. Mark Stanmeyer said. Multiple people told the Journal Sentinel that frightened patrons stampeded in two waves toward the casino’s exits in a chaotic scene as other gamblers sought cover under gaming tables and next to slot machines. The casino closed until 9 a.m. Sunday after the incident. The victim, who was hospitalized, suffered a leg wound that was not life-threatening, according to police.

 New York bookkeeper admits theft of $800,000 from Buffalo employer

Already previously convicted for drunken driving, Mary Jane Hagler of Hamburg, New York, added a new crime to her record. The bookkeeper on Friday admitted stealing nearly $800,000 over 10 years from the Buffalo property company where she worked. The stolen money helped support her casino gambling habit, a prosecutor said. Hagler, 58, of Rosedale Avenue, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing before Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. Hagler admitted stealing $796,989 from Pearce and Pearce Co., a property management firm on Niagara Falls Boulevard. She stole the money mostly by writing unauthorized checks payable to herself. She also charged personal purchases to the company credit card.

Officials to seize $7.8M from illegal gambling operation 

Oklahoma law officials are seeking to confiscate $7.8 million that was seized from an Anadarko couple that was charged with conducting an illegal gambling operation. The couple, Chase and Kristin Burns, were among 57 people arrested in March on felony charges related to a Florida-based charity that purported to help homeless veterans by operating Internet sweepstakes cafes. The couple faces racketeering and other charges.

NY teachers union head lost $350K at casino

Authorities say an upstate woman suspected of stealing $808,000 from the teachers union she headed lost more than $350,000 at a central New York casino over the last seven years of her life. Police in Auburn tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse that the losses were revealed in Turning Stone casino records turned over by the Oneida Indian Nation. The detective investigating the thefts from the Auburn Teachers Association says police don’t know for sure that the money 63-year-old Sally Jo Widmer lost at the casino was union funds. The longtime union president was found dead inside her home last November. Authorities ruled her death a suicide.

Casino reviews security as charges loom in shooting

Potawatomi Bingo Casino is reviewing its security procedures after a man ignored posted warnings and brought a gun inside the casino, shooting a Milwaukee woman in her leg early Sunday. “In a situation like this, our security officers are not armed. They are not to become interveners, they are to become witnesses,” Ryan Amundson, casino spokesman, said Monday. Amundson confirmed that several casino patrons helped wrestle the gun away from the shooter, who already had fired multiple shots on the gaming floor and wounded the 23-year-old Milwaukee woman about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the casino, 1721 W. Canal St. A 27-year-old Wauwatosa man is in custody while the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office reviews the case for possible charges, Milwaukee police said Monday. The man could be in court by Tuesday. Multiple people told the Journal Sentinel  that frightened patrons stampeded in two waves toward the casino’s exits in a chaotic scene as other gamblers sought cover under gaming tables.

Missouri couple admit $2.8M embezzlement

A northwest Missouri couple who authorities say were heavy gamblers have pleaded guilty to a $2.8 million embezzlement and check-kiting scheme. The U.S. Attorney’s office says 54-year-old Laura Dejong and 55-year-old Craig Dejong, of Liberty, both pleaded guilty Tuesday to filing a false tax return. Laura Dejong also pleaded guilty to mail fraud. The wife admitted embezzling the money from January 2003 to November 2011 from Kansas City Screw Products Inc., where she worked as a secretary and bookkeeper for 23 years. Prosecutors said the Dejongs engaged in millions of dollars of gambling, mostly at slot machines. They also spent more than $100,000 on vacations and cruises. The couple agreed to forfeit their Liberty home and everything they bought with stolen money, including vehicles, a boat and sports tickets.

Man arrested for shooting man who won big at casino

One man is in custody and two others were questioned and released after a bizarre robbery and shooting Tuesday in northeast Oklahoma City. Authorities said Joseph Moore was arrested for the shot that put the victim in the hospital, luckily with non-life threatening injuries. “A gentleman called 911 to report he had been shot,” OKC Police Sgt. Dexter Nelson said. The victim told police he was previously at a casino and won a large sum of money. He then met two men who wanted to sell him an ATV and drove the suspects to the area of N.E. 63rd St. and Midwest Blvd. to check out the 4-wheeler for sale. “It’s an abandoned barn, there’s nothing inside that barn, it’s dilapidated, so there were no ATVs there,” Sgt. Nelson said. From there, the suspects allegedly shot and robbed the victim but they didn’t get far.

Five Stark County residents charged with laundering $530,000 from illegal bookmaking operation

Five Stark County residents are being charged with conspiracy to launder more than a half-million dollars obtained through an illegal bookmaking operation. A federal grand jury Wednesday returned an indictment in the case, according to Steven Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. Charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments are: Joseph D. Nemeth, 49, and Rhonda Albaugh, 45, both of Lake Township; and Canton residents Joseph M. Nemeth, 75; Helen C. Nemeth, 75; and Robert T. Johns, 66. The indictment alleges that all of the defendants conspired to launder at least $530,000 between 2004 and 2013. All but $15,000 of these transactions occurred after Nov. 1, 2008, according to the indictment. The indictment says Joseph D. Nemeth instructed Robert Johns and other gamblers to pay some of their loss debts to him by paying Rhonda Albaugh by check, which she then deposited into various bank accounts. Joseph D. Nemeth and Albaugh opened numerous credit card and bank accounts and utilized them to receive payments from various gamblers, the indictment says. They then invested illegal gambling proceeds in real estate and construction projects titled in the names of others, including Helen Nemeth and Joseph M. Nemeth.

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