A Brief Look at Crime 07/29 – 08/04

‘Poker Princess’ who ‘ran multi-million dollar card games in Hollywood is set to reveal secrets of A-Listers – including Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon – in tell-all memoir

She made her name as the glamorous organiser of secret high-stakes poker games for a string of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But now some of Tinsletown’s best-known celebrities are bracing themselves for potentially embarrassing revelations in her tell-all memoir. Notorious poker madam Molly Bloom – who hosted card parties for celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Matt Damon – was arrested in Los Angeles as part of an investigation into an illegal big-money poker ring. But before the glamourous 33-year-old takes the witness stand next year, she is threatening to lift the lid on what went on during those late-night card games, where participants might pay a minimum of $100,000 to join. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued a statement on Tuesday alleging that one of the enterprises in the international gambling scheme laundered tens of millions of dollars through Cyprus shell companies and bank accounts into the U.S.

Andy Ashkar gets maximum prison sentence over stolen $5 million lottery ticket

A son of the owners of a Syracuse convenience store was sent to prison today for 8 1/3 to 25 years for possessing a $5 million New York Lottery ticket stolen seven years ago. Onondaga County Judge Joseph Fahey imposed the maximum sentence on Andy Ashkar on a conviction of criminal possession of stolen property. “Mr. Ashkar, let me tell you something,” Fahey said. “You exhibited some of the most rapacious greed I’ve seen in a long, long time.” Miles has said he took the ticket in October 2006 to Green Ale Market on East Fayette Street, which Ashkar’s parents own. He said he was high on drugs the night before he tried to claim the ticket. Ashkar told him the ticket was only worth $5,000, gave him $4,000 in cash that day and took the rest as the store’s cut, Miles said. Miles filed for bankruptcy two years after he says the lottery ticket was stolen.

 Former head of AADAC defrauded province of $634,000

The National Parole Board has turned down a request from the man who defrauded the province of Alberta of $634,000 while head of an addictions agency. Lloyd Carr, former executive director of the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC), admitted to diverting money from the program into his own accounts between 2004 and 2006 to support a gambling addiction. He was convicted of fraud in 2010 and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.Carr, 49, also later admitted to using a forged University of Calgary bachelor of social work degree to get a job as a mental health worker with the NOR-MAN Health Authority in Flin Flon, Man., as well as using a fake doctor’s note to obtain sick leave to attend his trial in Alberta.

Senior CPIB officer charged with stealing S$1.76 million from anti-graft agency

A senior officer from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was charged in court on Wednesday morning for misappropriating S$1.76 million from the anti-graft agency between 2008 and last year. According to the CPIB, Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong, 39, was in mid-September last year suspended and interdicted from his position as head of field research and technical support at CPIB to assist in a Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) probe into his suspected financial impropriety. The bespectacled, slightly plump Yeo, who does not plan to engage counsel, appeared fairly calm as he was read some 21 charges of misappropriating and misuse of funds, criminal breach of trust and forgery.  Eight of these were for misappropriating funds and criminal breach of trust, one was for forgery and the rest were in using part of his ill-gotten gains to gamble at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino.

Fire Protection Chief pleads guilty to federal fraud charges

The chief of the Kinloch Fire Protection District pleaded guilty Wednesday to using district money without authorization.  Chief Darran Kelley was accused in April 2013 of the unauthorized use of more than $140,000 between January 2007 and January 11, 2013. He was also charged with making a false statement connected to his receipt of Social Security disability payments, and three felony counts of wire fraud. The indictment had alleged the district had a bank account for the receipt and disbursement of district money. The district received around $160,361 in tax revenue from St. Louis County, which was distributed by the City of Kinloch to the bank account for payroll and operations. Kelley, 47, was accused of participating in a scheme in which he made unauthorized cash withdrawals from the account for personal use, including purchasing various personal items and gambling, as well as transferring money from the district bank account to make payments on his personal credit card

Man faces sentence in $6.5M store embezzlement

An employee who almost ruined a small grocery chain in southwestern Michigan is returning to court for a sentence for embezzlement. Christopher Pratt admits he stole more than $6 million from Village Market Food Centers, based in South Haven. He handled the financial books. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence at the high end of the guidelines, which could mean five years or more in prison. Pratt is back in Kalamazoo federal court Monday. The 42-year-old Portage man had a gambling problem and a love of vintage cars. He lost more than $250,000 while gambling in 2011 and bought or leased more than 50 cars. The government says Pratt’s crime nearly destroyed Village Market. The chain survived, but workers were cut along with pay and benefits.

Costa Rica-based online gambling site was linked to Gambino Crime Family

Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Frank Potolicchio, Jr., 34, of Norwalk, was sentenced on Wednesday by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to four months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his involvement in an illegal sports bookmaking operation. Potolicchio also was ordered to forfeit $100,000. According to court documents and statements made in court, after a long-term investigation led by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Stamford Police Department, Potolicchio and 19 other individuals were charged with various offenses related to their involvement in an illegal Internet sports bookmaking operation and illegal card gambling clubs in Stamford and Hamden that were controlled by the Gambino Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra. FBI analysis of the sports-betting website utilized by the co-defendants has determined that the total gross revenues of the Stamford-based gambling operation were nearly $1.7 million from October 2010 to June 2011.

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

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