Brief Look at Crime 02/17 – 02/23

Man gets 25-to-life for killing casino winner

A man who killed a Southern California casino winner during a botched robbery has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The Orange County Register says Tad Carroll was sentenced Friday, two months after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. Another defendant, Barbara Hamel, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder but prosecutors say she backed out of a plea deal Friday and the case will return to court. Orange County prosecutors say the pair followed 55-year-old Chi Bui after he won $10,000 at the Hawaiian Gardens Casino in Los Angeles County in 2010. Bui was confronted in Santa Ana. Prosecutors say Carroll knocked him down and Hamel drove over his head, killing him instantly. A third defendant, Michael Ross of Long Beach, received a 15-years-to-life sentence last year.

 Peppermill faces $1M fine for slot machine spying

A $1 million fine is being levied on Peppermill Casinos Inc. that owns operation in Reno, Sparks, Henderson and Wendover for sending out an employee to illegally gather information on the slot machine win percentages of its competitors. The state Gaming Control Board and the Peppermill signed a settlement Thursday in which the company admitted the allegations in the two-count complaint. The complaint alleged that since 2011, Peppermill employee Ryan Tors had a slot machine “reset” key that allowed him to enter the slots in other competitors to determine the amount of hold. That’s the amount of money kept by casino on the wagers. On July 12, 2013, security caught Tors using a reset key at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. A subsequent investigation revealed that, beginning at least in 2011, Tors had used the reset key to obtain the information in 10 other casinos in the Reno-Sparks and Wendover areas.

Herndon man to plead guilty to insurance theft

A Herndon man charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with stealing more than $630,000 in insurance funds plans to enter a guilty plea Tuesday. Derl H. Knarr, 55, will plead guilty to a felony of theft of insurance funds before Judge Matthew Brann in U.S. District Court in Williamsport and has agreed to make full restitution. According to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, Knarr stole the funds in Snyder, Northumberland and other counties while he worked as an agent for Allstate Financial Services. The thefts occurred between 2006 and 2012. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, State College Resident Office. Allstate Financial Services is a subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company, which offers auto, home, life and business insurance, retirement and investment products and banking services. According to court documents, Knarr allegedly embezzled, abstracted, purloined and misappropriated money, funds, premiums, credits and other property of the insurance business totaling $630,836.72. His actions caused clients to liquidate certain Lincoln Benefit Life Company annuities and endorse proceeds checks to him. Knarr also allegedly used the funds stolen from his clients to pay for personal expenses including trips to gambling casinos in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

North Bay social worker arrested on embezzlement charges

A North Bay social worker has been accused of stealing from those who trusted him most, authorities said. Santa Rosa Police arrested 66-year-old Larry Sark on Monday as they served a search warrant at his home, seizing computers and financial records. Salk worked with developmentally disabled adults, helping them manage their lives. But investigators say he helped himself to their Social Security funds. “We believe he lived way beyond his income” Sgt. Phil Brazis told KTVU, “and following the money, we find it to be true.” Brazis says bank records going back at least five years reveal hundreds of checks, ostensibly allocated for client’s personal and incidental needs, but siphoned to Sark. The amount embezzled allegedly amounts to $400,000. Investigators say they found evidence Sark spent the money on fine dining, golf and gambling trips out of state, and even a honeymoon in Egypt.

Ex-Pa. gas drilling exec pleads guilty over thefts

 A former chief operating officer who stole more than $9 million from his gas drilling company to feed his casino gambling habit has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and income tax fraud. Larry Dean Winckler will be sentenced May 30 by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence McVerry, who accepted his guilty plea on Tuesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci and defense attorney Martin Dietz agreed that federal guidelines call for a sentence of just over five years in prison to as much as 6 1/2 years. Winckler, 53, has agreed to forfeit more than $481,000 in a bank account, jewelry including four Rolex watches and a house to help satisfy the debt. Winckler didn’t comment beyond answering the judge’s questions with “yes” or “no” answers, and Dietz declined to comment except when asked how much of the thefts were driven by Winckler’s gambling habit. “Every penny,” Dietz said.

Employee at historic private member’s club accused of stealing £500,000

One of Britain’s most historic private member’s clubs has been left reeling after a trusted member of staff allegedly stole more than £500,000 to feed a gambling habit, the Daily Telegraph can disclose. The East India Club in London’s exclusive St James’s Square has attracted the great and the good for more than 160 years, including Prince Albert, Lord Mountbatten and Lord Randolph Churchill. The mansion house boasts 66 bedrooms and charges annual fees of up to £985 for its 5,200 members.  But embarrassed officials have been forced to write to each member to inform that more than half a million pounds had been stolen from club funds. The letter, seen by this newspaper, also sought to reassure them that the club’s future was safe and that the alleged theft would not result in an increase in subscription fees.  It is understood the man, who has been arrested and charged, was an experienced long serving employee in the accounts department where colleagues have been left stunned by the case.

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