Brief Look at Crime 02/03 – 02/09

Pa. man charged with stealing $3M from ex-employer

COLLINGDALE, Pa. (AP) — A former councilman in suburban Philadelphia has been arrested on charges he stole nearly $3 million from his former employer to feed an alleged gambling addiction. Former Collingdale borough councilman James Bryan faces multiple theft charges, all third-degree felonies. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said Wednesday that Bryan stole the money over the course of 11 years while he worked as a project manager for Wescott Electric in Aston. Investigators said Bryan cashed checks generated for fraudulent invoices and bought copper wire for the company that he’d scrap for cash. Bryan resigned from the Collingdale council last fall amid word that he was the focus of an ongoing investigation. He had been a borough councilman for nearly 20 years.

Pleas set in Pa. gambling case, $1M buried cash

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Guilty pleas are unfolding in a gambling case that involves $1 million buried in the yard of the daughter of a former law-and-order mayor of Philadelphia. Brothers Joseph Mastronardo Jr. and John Mastronardo are charged with using offshore accounts and other means to launder gambling proceeds from a huge sports betting organization. Joseph “Joe Vito” Mastronardo is married to the late Mayor Frank Rizzo’s daughter, Joanna. Sixteen people were indicted after authorities found more than $1 million in cash buried in PVC pipes in the front yard of the couple’s sprawling suburban home. Dennis Cogan, a lead lawyer on the case, confirmed that about a dozen defendants charged with racketeering and gambling have agreed to take part in a “global plea,” requiring that all of them plead guilty. Cogan, who was in the hospital, could not elaborate. The Philadelphia Daily News first reported Wednesday on the arrangement. Details of the plea were not available on the court’s online docket, and a lead prosecutor did not immediately return a message for comment. The brothers earned the nickname of “Gentleman Gamblers” because of their policy toward gamblers who fail to pay up. Instead of resorting to violence, they refuse to let them place more bets, Cogan has said. The indictment unsealed last year alleges that the Mastronardos ran a multi-million-dollar gambling ring with ties to Florida, New Jersey and Costa Rica. At its peak, more than 1,000 active bettors took part, placing online or telephone bets.

Nephew of dying woman stole more than $200,000 for gambling

A 53-year-old man formerly of Wind Gap abused his privileges as power of attorney to skim more than $200,000 from his dying aunt’s estate throughout 2012, according to the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office. Michael Dovyak Jr. stole the money from the accounts of Martha Liero in 2012, a detective with the district attorney’s office said. District Attorney John Morganelli was contacted in July 2013 about the unauthorized withdrawals, court documents state. He lived with her for several years, police said, and became her power of attorney in February 2012. Dovyak, Liero’s nephew, continued in the role until her death in September, police said. The title gave him the authority to make financial decisions for her and her estate. A review of her financial accounts showed he withdrew more than $227,900 from various accounts and spent more than $8,870 in refunds from personal care facilities instead of returning them to Liero, police said. Dovyak stole $236,772 from the estate, according to court documents. Dovyak told police during an interview in November that he used the money for gambling and other purchases, court papers state. He said he no longer had any money left, according to police.

Man Gets A Year In Prison For Running Sports Gambling Ring

STAMFORD, Conn. — A 45-year-old Stamford man was sentenced Wednesday to a year in federal prison for operating an illegal sports gambling business, the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut announced.  Stephen Joyce led a lucrative illegal sports bookmaking operation in Stamford that involved at least five other bookmakers, according to court documents.  Authorities conducted a search of Joyce’s residence on July 27, 2011, and recovered extensive gambling records, a laptop computer and other items.  As part of his sentence, Joyce was also forced to forfeit $175,000 and a pay a $3,000 fine.  Joyce pleaded guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business on Sept. 24, 2013.  The investigation was conducted by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Stamford Police Department, the Bridgeport Police Department and the Connecticut State Police.

Newcastle Granddad Murdered Over Winning Betting Slips

A win at horseracing led to a savage murder in Newcastle, when heavy drinking celebrations caused a row. A granddad in Newcastle bet a couple of pounds on his favorite horses at one of many William Hill betting shops in the city. Little did he know that he will be later viciously murdered by a pair of drunkards looking to collect his small winnings. Steven Youll was savagely beaten to death by Michael Wait and his accomplice David Smith. The pair then went through the granddad’s pockets to collect the uncashed betting slips. They wasted no time in cashing GBP 178, GBP 72, and GBP 4 horserace betting slips. Apparently, the money was spent on booze shortly after. After a thorough investigation and swift action by the police, the pair was apprehended and later jailed for life. Jurors in the trial couldn’t been told how Wait stole the betting slips from Youll, as the judge ruled this evidence could prejudice the case. However, the murderers were convicted anyway.

Brantford woman to be sentenced in $400,000 fraud

A Brantford woman, who defrauded a local company of at least $400,000 over a period of eight years by making almost daily use of a company-issued credit card, will be sentenced in March. Denise White, 56, pleaded guilty in Ontario Court in October to one count of fraud over $5,000 in connection with her misappropriation of funds at Terra Con Underground Ltd., where she had worked as the sewer contracting firm’s office manager. A sentencing hearing on Monday was adjourned to March 20. White was remanded out of custody. She had no prior criminal record. The Crown asked the court to consider a sentence of two to three years, while the defence suggested a sentence of 12 to 15 months would be appropriate. From 2006 to 2013, White used a company credit card with her name on it for purchases at gas stations, restaurants, department stores and at the casino.

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

 

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