Brief Look at Crime 01/20 – 01/26

CG Technology to pay record $5.5 million settlement for illegal bets complaint

CG Technology, the gambling subsidiary of Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP, will pay the largest fine in Nevada history to settle an 18-count complaint that the company or its CEO should have known one of its top executives was accepting illegal bets. The Las Vegas-based bookmaker will pay a record $5.5 million fine under an agreement reached with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, according to the stipulated settlement released late Monday. The settlement addresses allegations against CG Technology, formerly known as Cantor Gaming, in a civil complaint filed Jan. 6 before the Nevada Gaming Commission. The five-member commission will consider the settlement at a hearing to be scheduled. Both CG Technology CEO Lee Amaitis and Cantor Fitzgerald Chairman Howard Lutnick signed off on the settlement. The 18-count complaint said the sports betting company or Amaitis knew or should have known that Michael Colbert, its former director of risk management and vice president, was accepting illegal wagers and was acting as an agent to recruit bettors. Colbert pleaded guilty in New York federal court in August to a single felony charge of conspiracy in connection with his participation in a nationwide illegal bookmaking ring.

Staten Island fraudster who gambled away $3 million in clients’ money sentenced

A former Richmond resident who gambled away more than $3 million of his investors’ hard-earned cash at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut lost big-time Wednesday at his sentencing.  District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced Aleksander Efrosman, 51, to nearly 16 years in prison and ordered him to pay about $4 million in restitution, prosecutors said.  Authorities said Efrosman cheated over 100 investors of more than $5 million in a stock and foreign currency exchange investment scam. Efrosman, who was extradited from Poland to face justice here, had pleaded guilty in October of 2012 to wire fraud, said prosecutors. Efrosman gambled $3 million at Foxwoods and also used clients’ funds to pay personal expenses for himself and his family, said court papers.  He fled the country in 2005 with millions of dollars of investors’ funds. He went to Cozumel, Mexico, then to Panama and finally to Poland, said authorities. There, he assumed the identity of “Mikhail Grosman,” using a high-quality fraudulent Russian passport, officials said. But federal authorities, with help from law enforcement in several Eastern European countries, traced Efrosman to Krakow, Poland, and arrested him in May 2010, authorities said. In pre-sentence filings, Efrosman’s lawyer, Michael K. Schneider of Manhattan, sought a prison term between 97 and 121 months for his client.  He said his Efrosman was bedeviled by gambling and drinking.

Delhi businessman shoots himself dead after gambling losses

A Delhi -based businessman who suffered losses due to gambling ended his life here today by shooting himself dead in a hotel, the city police said today evening.  A note was found on the person of the dead businessman, the police said. Sanjeev Radheshyam Rajpal (45), a businessman had come to Thane on January 8 and stayed in the Maurya Residency Hotel near the station and occupied room number 201.  He was supposed to vacate the hotel on Thursday, the hotel’s management told the police. When the hotel staff called his room in the morning, there was no response from the other side.  After the hotel staff opened the room with a duplicate key, they found him lying dead in the room with a gun shot. The police said that they found a letter on his person addressed to his family stating that he had suffered losses due to gambling and had hence ended his life.

In wake of protection scandal, Miami police chief says department cleaned house

When Miami police brass first found out about officers protecting a sports-betting ring run out of a Liberty City barbershop, they had no idea how bad the resulting federal investigation would turn out. Eventually, a dozen officers — all from the North District station — were implicated in a two-year investigation by Miami detectives and FBI agents of the off-the-books protection gig and other corruption crimes. On Friday, Lashunda Hodge, one of the first officers swept up in the probe, was the last to resign. She followed others who were jailed, fired, suspended or resigned. Only the case of a minor player remains unresolved, with that officer still facing possible administrative discipline. With the criminal side of the embarrassing scheme largely wrapped up, Police Chief Manuel Orosa is now grappling with the continuing challenge of cleaning up the reputation of a department also tainted by a string of controversial police shootings in the inner city. “It’s unfortunate that these police officers turned to the criminal side” in the protection racket, said Orosa, who took over leadership of the troubled force in late 2011 and has quickly gained a reputation as a hard-nosed disciplinarian.

Father Joe pleads guilty to stealing $130Gs from church

A priest with a pathological gambling problem pleaded guilty Monday to fraud and theft charges after taking his church for $130,000. Joseph Leclair, former priest of Blessed Sacrement church in the Glebe, exploited lax bookkeeping to pilfer church funds and fund his gambling debts, according to an agreed statement of facts read out in court. From 2006 to May 2011 — when he was exposed as a fraudster in the press — Leclair dipped his sticky fingers into any honeypot he could find.  Marriage preparation course money — payable in cash at $100 a course — vanished into his accounts. He routinely rounded up expenses and pocketed the difference. He would also deposit into his account wads of $5 and $10 bills that he stole from the collection plate. A psychiatrist diagnosed him as a “pathological gambler” and the court heard he often took out large cash advances against his credit card at casinos, particularly the Casino du Lac Leamy.

Ex-treasurer who stole union funds ordered to repay $1.69m

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered the former secretary-treasurer of a Metro Vancouver Longshoremen’s union to repay $1.69 million of misappropriated money, some of which were used to fund gambling debts. Justice Kenneth Affleck also ordered two adult children of Robert Victor Eric Ford to each repay $2,000 that was deposited into their accounts. Ford was the secretary-treasurer of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 502 from October 2003 until August 2012. In September 2012, the union local and New Westminster Longshoremen’s Holding Society filed court action against Ford, alleging he misappropriated the funds and converted them to his own use. In his ruling favouring the union, Affleck said: “There can be no doubt Mr. Ford took a considerable amount of money from the Union Local, well beyond his own salary and expenses as secretary-treasurer.

34 arrested in west Georgia dog-fighting raid

Authorities in west Georgia arrested 34 people and seized 27 vehicles, several guns and over $28,000 in cash in a Saturday night raid on an alleged dog-fighting operation in Meriwether County. According to Meriwether Sheriff Chuck Smith, officers from several agencies, bolstered by helicopters from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Natural Resources, took part in the raid, which went down off Happy Hollow Drive around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. “Our narcotics unit has worked on gathering intelligence on the event and at a moment’s notice they rallied up and met at the training center where a briefing was conducted,” Smith said in an e-mail. “When the helicopter pilots hit their target with spotlights, participants and spectators ran into the arms of waiting officers holding a perimeter around the event,” Smith said. He said those arrested, some of them local and some from as far away as Arkansas and Michigan, face various charges, including gambling, cruelty to animals, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft-by-receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit or promote dog fighting.

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