Brief Look at Crime 11/25 – 12/01

Elderly woman killed in shootout over illegal gambling profits

Anderson County deputies said they believe an elderly woman killed during an armed robbery and shootout was targeted because of the amount of cash she had from her involvement in a gambling business. Deputies said after speaking with Dorothy Hendrix’s family, they learned she returned to her Rayben Lane home often early in the morning with large sums of money after leaving her job. On Saturday, deputies said Hendrix, 76, came home to find three armed men at her house. The coroner said Hendrix pulled out a gun and fired at the suspects, and one of them returned fire, hitting her twice.  Deputies said Hendrix worked at 3454 Cinema Center in Anderson and after searching the location Tuesday, they found 15 illegal gambling machines. Investigators believe Hendrix was robbed because she had proceeds from gambling at the center, where she was involved in day-to-day operations, according to deputies.

Lake Elsinore Man Admits to Embezzling From Santa Ana Church

A Lake Elsinore man pleaded guilty today to embezzling more that $100,000 from a Santa Ana church where he worked as a treasurer and was immediately sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay back what he stole in restitution. Fiatala Manu, 47, worked as an interim treasurer at First Samoan Christian Congregational Church from October 2011 through August of last year, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Manu embezzled about $113,000, including $96,000 set aside for the construction of a new church, according to prosecutors. He also laundered embezzled funds he had deposited into his personal bank account by withdrawing cash and making purchases at an Indian gaming casino, prosecutors said. Manu covered his tracks with falsified financial reports, but an assistant treasurer assigned to monitor various church accounts uncovered the thievery in July 2012.

Supervisor at Visalia bank arrested on embezzlement charge

A bank supervisor has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling $300,000 from her employer, Visalia police said Monday. Police arrested Kathleen Welte, 54, of Tulare, an employee of Well Fargo Bank, following a 13-month investigation. The alleged embezzlement took place at the Wells Fargo branch in downtown Visalia. Some of the money was used for gambling, Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez said. The investigation began Oct. 24, 2012 when bank management called police. A detective went to investigate, and Welte was terminated or resigned the same day, police said. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office accepted the case and obtained an arrest warrant. Welte was arrested Saturday and booked into the Bob Wiley Detention Center.

Financial adviser stole £1m to fund gambling habit

A respected financial adviser stole almost £1m from friends, a charity and investors in a high-risk international money-making scheme – using the cash to fund his spiralling gambling addiction. Michael Garner frittered away astronomical amounts on an online casino – placing bets totalling an astonishing £1.5m but only winning back around £750,000. To feed his gambling habits, he began stealing from the Cheadle and Gatley Round Table charitable organisation, where he was the trusted treasurer and later president. Anna Mackenzie, defending, told the court Garner was remorseful and understood his actions had ‘devastated’ the lives of himself, family,  friends and victims. She added his marriage appeared to be over and his matrimonial home, his only asset, had been sold to help pay off a civil claim made by the investors against him.

Prison Sentence In Theft Case For Former Hose Company Head

A volunteer firefighter, businessman, and former council member in Moosic was sent to jail Tuesday morning. Bill Sweeney was sentenced to nearly a year behind bars for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fire department he worked for. When Bill Sweeney was arrested back in April he was a volunteer firefighter, a Moosic Borough councilman, and a businessman. Now, he’s lost all but one of those titles. At sentencing, Sweeney said he hopes he can keep his business, Bitty Bill’s in Moosic, so he can pay back the money he admits he stole to feed a gambling addiction. Sweeney pleaded guilty earlier this year and admitted to stealing almost $400,000 from the Greenwood Hose Company in Moosic while he was a member there.

Bank manager pleads guilty to aiding NY online gambling ringleader

A former branch manager at a Manhattan bank has become the nineteenth defendant to plead guilty for his involvement in a high stakes illegal online sports betting business connected to organized crime enterprises in New York. Ronald Uy plead guilty on Monday before US District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan federal court to assisting Illya Trincher, a leader of the international sportsbook with ties to Russian-American organized crime, with structuring financial transactions.  Trincher pled guilty earlier this month in connection with his leadership role in the operation of a high-stakes illegal sports gambling business. Uy was charged in April 2013 along with 33 other alleged members and associates of two Russian-American organized crime enterprises in an indictment that included racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and various gambling offenses. Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “Ronald Uy consorted with Illya Trincher, a leader of a high-stakes gambling operation with ties to Russian-American organized crime, and broke the law when he aided Trincher in concealing the enterprise’s ill-gotten gains.  “But thanks to the efforts of law enforcement, Uy, like the 18 others before him, has admitted his guilt and now stands convicted.”

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

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