A Brief Look at Crime 07/01 – 07/07

Half a million dollars’ worth of jewelry stolen in Atlantic City casino heist

Three men stole half a million dollars’ worth of jewelry from a store at an Atlantic City casino in what New Jersey police are calling a brazen smash-and-grab robbery. Atlantic City Police are looking for the men in connection to the Monday night heist at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. The men brazenly broke into the store, stole the goods and fled in a waiting getaway car, police said. The robbers were not carrying any weapons during the heist, said Sgt. Monica McMenamin. The Borgata, which opened in 2003, is a 2,000-room casino-hotel, with four nightclubs, a concert venue, a theater, restaurants and 11 retail stores.

 Four who ran Hollywood, Fla., psychiatric hospital found guilty of Medicare fraud

A top executive and three aides who prosecutors say operated a Hollywood psychiatric hospital like a “brothel of fraud” were found guilty Friday of bilking Medicare by submitting false claims for $67 million. The taxpayer-funded health care program was duped into paying almost $40 million to Hollywood Pavilion, whose chief executive officer and others covered up the “sham” by falsifying patient records and marketing contracts with “dirty” patient recruiters, according to Justice Department prosecutors. The recruiters, many convicted felons, were paid more than $1 million for the patient referrals, prosecutors said.  Eight of those convicted defendants testified at the Hollywood Pavilion trial, including Dr. Alan Gumer, a former medical director at the Hollywood Pavilion facility who is facing sentencing in August for his crime in the American Therapeutic case, and Keith Humes, a Hollywood Pavilion patient recruiter who is serving a seven-year prison sentence stemming from another Medicare fraud offense. Zink said Gumer had $500,000 in gambling debts and had not paid any taxes for years when he was working for Hollywood Pavilion. “He was a weak man,” Zink said, “who was willing to sell his license for money.”

 Chamblee police: $240K seized in illegal gambling raids

Police said they seized $240,000 from more than a dozen DeKalb County businesses during illegal gambling raids Thursday. Authorities raided 14 Chamblee businesses, including convenience stores, check cashing establishments, laundromats and a pool hall, according to a news release from the Chamblee Police Department. Eleven individuals were arrested and identified as employees, and two people were arrested for outstanding warrants, police said. Their names were not immediately released. The raids were the result of a three-month undercover investigation into gambling with illegal game machines, according to police.

 Gambling addict stole $200k from kinder

A gambling addict who stole more than $200,000 from a Melbourne kindergarten he was president of was like a fox in a chook pen, a judge has said.  Periclis Telios, 41, stole $224,008 from the Ward Avenue Kindergarten Association in Oakleigh South between February and October 2012. Telios took steps to get control of the kindergarten’s accounts including removing the accountant and organising for a single signatory to be able to withdraw money, the Victorian County Court heard on Thursday. As of the end of 2011 the kindergarten had approximately $190,000 in a term deposit and $11,375 in a bank account. Once he took over as president, Telios withdrew just over $200,000 from the accounts and transferred nearly $24,000 to his own account online, the court heard. Judge Carolyn Douglas said Telios knew he had a gambling problem and put himself in a position where he was dealing with money.

 $1.2 million seized in raid on Cyber Oasis Internet gambling parlor in Brook Park

Officers seized more than $1.2 million after an Internet gambling parlor raid in Brook Park. Last week, a grand jury indicted 40-year-old Izdihar Najjar on 18 counts including money laundering, gambling and operating a gambling house. Prosecutors said they also raided her Cyber Oasis Internet café on Smith Road, where they seized more than 100 video slot machines. Then on Monday, Ohio Department of Public Safety agents executed search warrants on Najjar’s bank accounts, totaling $600,000, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. The Avon woman allegedly deposited another $630,000 into a bank account belonging to a Canada-based company that made the gaming machine software. “This underscores the fact that this is a gambling syndicate and a criminal enterprise, not the mom-and-pop operation that defenders of these Internet cafes would have you believe,’’ said Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Daniel J. Kasaris.

Former councilor sentenced for theft

A former Inuvik, N.W.T., town councillor has been sentenced to two years less a day for stealing nearly $500,000 from three businesses. The judge also ordered Grace Elizabeth Loreen, 50, to repay the money to the businesses. Loreen stole the money over a three-year period to fund an online gambling addiction. The judge said the offence was a breach of trust and that at the time of the pre-sentencing report, Loreen hadn’t stopped gambling. She stole most of the money from Deline Construction. The theft left the company unable to pay employee salaries and loans on equipment, resulting in a loss of up to $1.3 million.

 Toms River public employee suspended after gambling arrest

Authorities have suspended Toms River’s deputy director of public works without pay following his arrest as part of an investigation into a $1 million-a-week gambling ring. The Asbury Park Press reports officials took the action against 43-year-old Anthony Benyola following a closed-door meeting Monday. Benyola is paid $97,142. Benyola and 22 others are accused of participating in a ring that officials say used websites to track illegal bets and record profits and losses. Prosecutors also allege members sold marijuana and prescription drugs. The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office says the enterprise operated in Monmouth, Somerset, Essex and Hudson counties and in New York.  

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

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