Brief Look at Crime 12/02 – 12/08

Man Held for Killing Mother

The HAL police have cracked the murder of a 55-year-old woman by arresting her son and an accomplice. The accused are Lakshmana alias Lakshmana Reddy (34), a daily wage worker, and his friend Subramani (30), a driver. They hail from Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh and were living in Mulbagal, near Kolar. Reddy killed his mother Muniyamma alias Reddamma, a domestic help, near her house at Doddanekundi Lake on November 25. Police say Lakshmana Reddy had lost money in gambling. He had also bought a two-wheeler but had no money to pay the instalments. On November 25, when Lakshmana Reddy went to his mother’s house, her husband Malla Reddy, a security guard, was away at work. Lakshmana Reddy demanded money to pay his bike dues. Reddamma, who suspected he would use the cash for gambling, refused. Later in the evening, he sat drinking with his friend Subramani and allegedly hatched a plot to murder her.

Charges filed in Brioni Rutland-related shooting, police probe gambling allegations

Police have charged a man with attempted murder for the shooting of murdered Deshler coach Brioni Rutland’s cousin, as they investigate allegations that Rutland was involved with gambling. Gregory Williams is being held in the Colbert County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Eyewitnesses to the shooting told police Williams said he was tired of being accused of involvement in Rutland’s death and got into a fist fight with Rutland’s cousin, Lonell Hankins. Witnesses said the fight escalated and Williams shot Hankins four times. Police expect Hankins to recover from his injuries. The shooting took place early Tuesday morning outside Rutland’s father’s house on Gail Street in Tuscumbia. Williams was arrested about 45 minutes after the shooting. Williams’ cousin, Jeremy Leshun Williams, is in the Lauderdale County Detention Center charged with Rutland’s murder. The body of Rutland, a volunteer coach at Deshler High School, was found wrapped in chains and attached to concrete blocks in the Tennessee River Saturday. A preliminary autopsy report indicates Rutland was stabbed more than 30 times and shot in the head.  According to the arrest warrant, Jeremy Williams told police Rutland showed up at his apartment in Florence Nov. 26 to collect a gambling debt.

Poker Pro Escapes Two Robbery Attempts Just Minutes Apart

New York City police were investigating two attempted robberies of a poker pro who was in possession of $100,000 in cash while attempting to fly out of New York’s JFK Airport. According to the New York Post, Eric Riley, 32, had won the money playing at Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino.  While there he met up with an individual who offered him a ride to the airport over 100 miles away.  Riley accepted but once at JFK, the driver attempted to flee before the poker pro could retrieve his duffle bag full of cash out of the car’s trunk. Fortunately for Riley, the trunk of that vehicle was left open.  Hoping into the first available cab, Riley chased after his supposed “new friend” and managed to pull the duffle bag from the open car trunk. While it seems almost incomprehensible, two men claiming to be undercover police officers offered Riley a ride back to the airport.  Once inside the vehicle, one of the men held a gun to Riley’s chest and demanded the money. The poker pro then “clutched the bag to his chest and made a daring leap from the moving car. He rolled down the highway, getting road rash as his clothes were torn to ribbons”.

Former worker accused of embezzling $1 million

A former payroll specialist at Wheaton Franciscan Services has been charged with four felonies in which she is accused of embezzling more than $1 million to support a gambling habit, according to a criminal complaint.  The complaint, released Monday, charges Janice M. Nieman, 49, with three counts of theft over $10,000 an d one count of identity theft for a scheme that dates back to 2004. She admitted to the theft and told Glendale police she used much of the money to play the slots at Potawatomi Bingo Casino, the complaint says.  If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 36 years in prison and possible fines up to $85,000. Nieman, of Milwaukee, started gambling before she took the position at Wheaton 15 years ago, the complaint says. She started playing the slots to deal with the stress when she lost her previous job.  From 2004 through June of this year, Nieman made more than 2,000 fraudulent transactions through the health care organization’s payroll system, using the identities of 848 different employees, the complaint says.

Former Washington Democratic official sentenced

The former executive director of a state Senate Democratic campaign committee was given a two-year sentence Tuesday for embezzling as much as $330,000 in campaign contributions. Much of the money was spent at casinos. Michael King was ordered to spend half his sentence in prison, where he must undergo alcohol and gambling addiction treatment, The Seattle Times reported. The other half will be spent in community custody, the state’s version of parole. If he violates his release conditions, he will be sent to prison to serve the full term. He must also pay $250,000 restitution. The 32-year-old pleaded guilty in October to multiple theft counts. King County prosecutors say he was able to swindle the campaign fund by requesting reimbursement for faked expenses. Charging papers indicate King began embezzling on March 28, 2011, weeks after he was hired as executive director of the statewide organization that was established to help Democratic incumbents and candidates win election to the state Senate. The thefts weren’t uncovered until after the November 2012 election when King sought to be reimbursed for thousands of dollars he said had been paid to online polling and auto-dialing companies, court documents said.

NJ man convicted of running pizzeria scam

A New Jersey man accused of bilking an investor out of roughly $1.2 million in a phony pizzeria scheme has been convicted on numerous counts, including mail fraud and money laundering. Giovanni Arena of Laurel Springs now faces several decades in prison when he’s sentenced March 14. He was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury that deliberated for less than four hours following a seven-day trial in Camden. Federal prosecutors say the 58-year-old Arena had operated pizzerias in the past, and he enticed the victim to send money to invest in the purchase of a pizza shop. But Arena instead spent the cash on luxury automobiles and gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars at Atlantic City casinos. Arena was convicted on 27 of the 34 counts he faced.

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

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