A Brief Look at Crime 07/15 – 07/21

Nun gets 90 days in jail for thefts to support gambling habit

A Catholic nun who pleaded guilty to stealing almost $130,000 from two churches was sentenced to 90 days in jail along with other penalties this morning, Orleans County Court officials reported. Sister Mary Anne Rapp, 68, also was sentenced to five years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and $128,000 in restitution payments during her appearance before Orleans County Judge James P. Punch. Rapp faced up to six months in jail, after having pleaded guilty to grand larceny.  She admitted stealing the money from two rural churches between March 2006 and April 2011. Investigators have that said she stole the money to feed a gambling addiction and that she spent that money in Western New York casino.

 Seven threatened to kill Dubai salesman over cricket gambling debt

Seven men have been accused of threatening to kill a salesman if he did not repay Dh40,000 that he lost in gambling in cricket.  The seven Pakistani men — five visitors, a tailor and a businessman — who are aged between 25 and 49, were said to have threatened to kill their countryman, M.A., in Pakistan or in Dubai if he failed to repay the bookmaking funds that he lost over a number of cricket matches in October 2012. “He threatened to kill me in my homeland or to send a group of men to kill me in Dubai. Then my father asked me to go to the shop and he told me what happened. When I was heading to the police station to complain, I received another call from Z.A. He warned me over the phone not to complain to the police otherwise he would kill me,” claimed M.A.

 Woodmen agent in Alabama stole in range of $800,000

An Alabama representative of Omaha’s Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society has pleaded guilty to stealing about $800,000 from investors he had pledged to help save money for retirement. Scott Dees, 52, pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court in Mobile, Ala., to using the investors’ money for gambling and medical bills, according to court documents. Dees has not been sentenced; the maximum jail term is 20 years, court papers say. According to legal documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile, “Approximately thirty investors in the Southern District of Alabama sent money to Dees for the purpose of having him invest the funds in a Woodmen of the World investment vehicle. However, rather than invest these funds as promised, Dees used the investors’ money for gambling and to pay for his personal medical bills.” Woodmen of the World, which employs about 575 people at its Omaha headquarters, is a financial services firm selling life insurance, annuities and mutual funds.

Postman embezzles $400k from veteran

A postman from West Seneca pleaded guilty Friday morning to embezzling about $400,000 from an elderly reverend and military veteran. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office says 63-year-old Peter Saraceno admits to  befriending the victim and eventually becoming a joint account holder on one of the victim’s bank accounts. The DA’s office say between 2006 and February of this year, he stole the money by writing checks to himself, making wire transfers to himself and making AT withdrawals all from the victim’s accounts. According to the DA’s office he blamed the embezzlement on alleged depression, post-traumatic stress and his wife’s heart condition. The DA’s office says Saraceno eventually admitted that he used the money to finance his gambling habit, which he says relieved his stress and depression.

 Sewell man sentenced to 8 years for loan sharking, illegal gambling on behalf of the mob

A Gloucester County man was sentenced today to 8 years in prison for his participation in a racketeering conspiracy involving loan sharking and illegal gambling, according to the United States Attorney’s office of Pennsylvania. Authorities said Battaglini exploited the violent reputation of the Philadelphia LCN Family in extending usurious loans and collecting payments on the loans, leaving the borrowers in fear of physical harm if they did not pay promptly. The case was investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Gambling addict threatened to blow up bank

A GAMBLING addict gave a counter clerk at a Hampshire bank a few seconds to hand over cash or he would blow up the premises with explosives he was carrying in his rucksack, a judge heard.  But when the teller refused and said he had pressed the alarm, the would-be robber walked out and immediately phoned the police to say what he had done.  The extraordinary drama happened shortly before 5pm on May 17 when jobless Bryan Dimmick, having blown his money at a bookmakers and then frittered away the last few pounds in a bar, entered the NatWest bank. “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He knew what he had done and wanted to stand up and be counted. He knows he must get a grip on his gambling and must accept what help is on offer. He knows his partner won’t stand by him unless he does.”

Former lottery official pleads guilty to stealing, cashing in winning tickets

A former security official for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to accusations that he stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of winning lottery tickets. Remmele Mazyck, who served as deputy director of security, admitted Friday that he stole tickets that were intended to be free giveaways at the State Fair and other public events. The Arkansas Lottery Commission (ALC) said in a press release the charges allege that between November 2009 and October 2012, Mazyck used his position of authority to steal lottery tickets and cash them undetected. Mazyck cashed 22,710 tickets for a total $478,073, according to the ALC. “His life essentially is not completely over. He knows he’s going to go to jail. He’s just not sure how long. He’s got a baby that’s going to be born in the next 72 hours,” Hall said.

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

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