Monthly Archives: April 2014

Gambling Expansion Worries table Greyhound ‘De-coupling’ Bill

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of the Genting Group to bring Vegas-style, destination casino’s to Florida.  Their most recent efforts involved the Gulfstream Resort deal and the purchase of property in Miami.  That deal was blocked. Of course, history says that Genting Groups attempts will continue, and this new strategy was creative, but ultimately stopped before it had a chance to move forward.  There have been many reports of issues with greyhound racing in Florida, namely the treatment of the animals.  Greyhound racing has been a condition to allowing other gambling activities such as poker rooms and slot machines.  In an effort to put an end to greyhound racing, legislation was proposed to de-couple it from other types of gambling.  Unfortunately, after debate of the issue in a legislative committee, it was clear that too many questions remained about the implication of released licenses and the Genting Group looked to want to exploit that for hopes of casino gambling in Miami.  South Florida’s NPR explains how the situation unfolded and how the legislation as been set aside to prevent future damage to Florida’s families until more is understood:

A plan to put an end to greyhound racing in Florida came unglued in the state Senate Gaming Committee hearing on Tuesday. As the proposal began to look like a substantial expansion of gambling in Florida, sponsor Maria Sachs pulled the plug on her own legislation.

The plan was to stop forcing dog tracks to schedule greyhound faces as a condition of operating poker rooms and slot machines. Because dog races are no longer popular or profitable, it was assumed they would die out. But as details of the measure emerged during a 90-minute hearing, senators got uncomfortable.

Miami Senator Gwen Margolis and others, including Senator Jack Latvala of Clearwater said it wasn’t clear whether the unused racing permits could be transferred to established new casinos with token dog racing. As the tide turned against her measure, Sachs realized she didn’t have the votes.

Greyhound industry lobbyist Jack Cory said Margolis’ fears weren’t far from the truth. He said it was likely Broward’s Gulfstream Park would take its permit to Miami to partner with the Genting Group on a new casino there.  

The author of the legislation, Senator Margolis, explained that she plans to rework the bill and introduce it once it contains language that would clearly prevent this strategy for expanded gambling. 

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Brief Look at Crime 04/07 – 04/13

Canadia teller tried for nearly $3 million heist

A former Canadia Bank employee accused of stealing $2.7 million from the bank last year was tried by Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Former chief accountant Yet Sopheaktra, 30, was charged with breach of trust for theft of company finances, said presiding judge Kor Vandy. Sun Saonin, 33, the boyfriend of Sopheaktra, along with her mother, Chak Kimheng, 59, have also been charged as accomplices, along with former Canadia Bank ATM controller Leng Sunly, 34. “Sopheaktra and her boyfriend Sun Saonin are gamblers. They stole money from Canadia Bank to play games at a casino in Phnom Penh,” said Vandy, adding that all four were arrested on October 3. During the hearing yesterday, Sopheaktra admitted to withdrawing the enormous sum by creating two bank cards for Kimheng and three for her friend Tep Winchanthy, who remains at large. “I withdrew $2.3 million from Canadia Bank between March and October to buy land in Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Cham provinces. I spent the rest gambling in a casino,” she said, adding that she was solely responsible for withdrawing the cash.

Bribed co-op manager to be sentenced in February

A judge is set to decide the prison sentence on Feb. 4 for the former West Central Cooperative sales manager who pleaded guilty in October to a wire fraud charge for taking more than $479,000 worth of bribes from a Sac County farmer. Chad Hartzler, 46, of Ames, faces more than four years in federal prison as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Hartzler has said that he took the bribes over the course of five years from farmer Bill Wollesen, of Lake View, in exchange for steep discounts on crop seed and other products. Hartzler was a gambling addict who used the money to bet on sports games, court records show. He allegedly admitted to a West Central attorney that Wollesen first offered him $2,000 cash to get a $6,000 discount on soybean seed in the spring of 2005. Wollesen allegedly made the offer after Hartzler told him about his gambling debts.

Crimes committed by casino dealers rise by 85 percent

The number of crimes committed by casino dealers last year rose by 85 percent compared to 2012, according to figures provided by the Judiciary Police, which were recently revealed by the newspaper Tribuna de Macau.  Compared to 2012, figures show that the overall number of cases involving casino workers rose by 34 percent, reaching 75 cases against the 56 registered the previous year. Alone, crimes perpetrated by casino dealers recorded an increase of 85 percent, totaling 50 people. Embezzlement and theft accounted for a large portion of these crimes. Embezzlement also tops the crime list perpetrated by casino employees – a crime category that saw an increase of 267 percent, reaching 33 cases. Cases of theft and misappropriation rose by 9 and 33 percent respectively. Regarding illegal work, only one case was recorded – the same number as the previous year. Other types of crimes slightly declined, such as usury (28 percent), swindling (40 percent), and abuse of power (no cases recorded by police authorities against one registered in 2012).  An expert in crime, Spencer Li, explained that casino operators have become more aware of these issues. On the other hand, he added that the number of crimes committed by casino workers might in fact be even higher, as companies sometimes prefer to deal with such matters internally.

Gambling Addiction Lands Tabar on NCUA Prohibition List

The NCUA issued an order Monday prohibiting a former credit union employee from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution. Rhandy Tabar, a former employee of the $277 million UNCLE Credit Union in Livermore, Calif., was sentenced to five years’ probation after pleading no contest to the charges of grand theft and embezzlement. The first year of his sentence will be served in county jail. Tabar was ordered to stay away from UNCLE Credit Union and must start a gambling addiction treatment program. He must also pay restitution in the amount of $606,541.33. Violating a prohibition order is considered a felony offense punishable by imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million.

Woman getting deported in NY gambling case

A federal judge in upstate New York has sentenced a 30-year-old Florida resident to probation for laundering more than $8 million for a widespread illegal sports gambling operation. Michele Lasso was detained by immigration officials in Albany for deportation to her native Panama after sentencing Tuesday. U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino says Lasso helped authorities recover $7 million from foreign banks and the new mother spent the past year in home confinement, but her motive was greed. Lasso apologized. Defense attorney William Shepherd notes sports betting and managing bank accounts in various countries is neither illegal nor uncommon in Panama. The ringleader, 52-year-old Philip Gurian of Boca Raton, Fla., faces sentencing April 15. He has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money.

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

Florida Senate Says Gambling Bills are Dead this Legislative Session

Casino Watch Focus has been reporting  on the ongoing gambling developments during this year’s Florida legislative session.  The Florida House moved forward and passed a bill, but the Senate has been taking more time to push any legislation, in part at the urging of Gov. Scott and in part due to a lack of agreement on how or when to establish new destination casinos.  An online Tallahassee source explains:

The chairman of the Senate Gaming Committee turned off the lights on a comprehensive gambling measure that could have allowed resort casinos in South Florida, telling the chamber that he lacked the votes to advance it and is instead deferring to Gov. Rick Scott.

“It has become increasingly apparent to me that, even on our committee, reaching consensus on a 400-page gaming reform bill just is not in the cards,” Richter, R-Naples, said.

Richter’s comments Thursday made official growing speculation that lawmakers would not pass any comprehensive gambling measures during the 2014 session, even after spending $400,000 on a gambling study and after the Senate held a series of meetings across the state on the issue.

This seems to solidify the strategy of waiting until a new compact with the Seminole Tribe has been passed and ratified.  As explained by the same Tallahassee online source, it looks like 2015 will be the most likely date for new expansion legislation:

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has for at least a month insisted that his chamber would not approve any legislation until Scott completed negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida about a portion of a 20-year gambling deal that will expire in mid-2015. Scott has given no indication how far the talks have progressed.

“I think we can reasonably expect an agreement soon that may significantly alter revenue-sharing or exclusivity provisions. If we put the gaming reform cart in front of the Seminole compact horse, we run the risk of getting policies at cross-purposes. The wiser course is to be patient and to address comprehensive gaming reform in the context of a compact ratification,” Richter said.

Scott’s office gave the same response it has provided to reporters for more than a month.

“With the gaming compact set to expire in 2015, we will take the time needed to get the best deal for Floridians,” Scott spokesman Frank Collins said.

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

Brief Look at Crime 03/31 – 04/06

Florida mom left 4-year-old in car for hours while she gambled in casino

A mother and her male friend are behind bars after leaving a 4-year old in a car for hours while they were gambling at a South Florida casino. Broward sheriff’s deputies arrested Nancy Joseph, 36, the mother of the child and her friend Salomon Baptiste, 34, on charges of neglect without great bodily harm. According to police, a Seminole Police officer heard the little girl screaming and crying in a minivan on Tuesday night. The windows of the van were rolled up but the doors were unlocked. Police said the child was asleep and had woken up. She had been in the car for about two to three hours. Joseph and Baptiste were inside Seminole Classic Casino on Sterling Road and 441 at the time the child was found. She was later taken to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital where she was released to a family member. Broward Protective Services were called but the case will end up in Miami-Dade County because it’s where the mother lives.

Feds sue to keep $300K, vehicles from alleged gambling operation

Federal authorities filed a civil forfeiture lawsuit on Thursday to confiscate more than $300,000, diamond and gold jewelry and two vehicles linked to two Amarillo gambling operations. The suit, filed in Amarillo’s U.S. District Court, seeks to keep money and other items seized during a series of raids at gambling businesses and residences in the city. Authorities allege the items constitute illegal gaming proceeds and should be forfeited to the government. In November, Nava pleaded guilty in Amarillo’s U.S. District Court to operating an illegal gambling business at 823 S.W. Seventh Ave. and was sentenced to a 13-month federal prison term. Nava was one of several defendants who pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from several drug raids linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

Financial adviser stole £226,508 from six pensioners

A senior financial advisor has walked free from court despite stealing more than £200,000 from the life savings of six pensioners and blowing it all on football bets. Marc Burnett, 30, a senior banking advisor for Lloyds Bank, used standing orders to siphon money from the unknowing pensioners’ accounts into ones he ‘controlled’.  Burnett, of Preston, East Yorkshire, stole £226,508 in 45 false transactions between 2008 and 2013 to fund his gambling habit – which started when he was just ten-years-old. Hull Crown Court heard how he ensured his elderly victim’s did not find out about his swindling by diverting their bank statements.  Burnett’s bosses at Lloyds Bank were also duped by his behaviour and the court heard how his senior managers knew nothing of his withdrawals. Phillips Evans, prosecuting, said Burnett came across as ‘charming and polite’ to his victims despite swindling them for their life savings behind their backs. He said: ‘In his early 20s he had a flat of his own in the town and he would gamble online on football. ‘He started working for Lloyds and his addiction became worse spending all of his money as soon as he got paid.  ‘He started putting bigger and bigger bets on with the aim of winning big. The aim was to repay his debts, but of course the win never came. He would put between £150 and £4,000 on and it spiralled. ‘He lost his flat. He could not see a way out of the debt and began stealing. His thinking was distorted. He became low and depressed.

Father Of Man Killed In Gambling Dispute Asks Obama To Outlaw Online Wagering

Robert McGuigan is terminally-ill and probably only has a few more months to live. With that time he is doing everything he can to spread awareness of the perils of gambling addiction. The Madison, Wisconsin resident is also appealing to President Barack Obama to outlaw online gambling. “I’d like to see him do something in regards to the Internet gambling and make that completely illegal,” McGuigan said to Channel 3000. McGuigan took up his crusade against gambling in 2006, three years after his son Jason was murdered after a gambling dispute. Jason was asked to place a bet for Mark Wu, but did not make the wager. It ended up winning, and would have been worth $17,000 to Wu, who killed McGuigan and his two roommates once he learned about the bet not being placed. The horrible nature of this crime rippled out, with one of the roommate’s brothers committing suicide in the wake of the tragic events. Wu killed himself in jail on the day his trial was set to get underway. This past week McGuigan was presented the Leadership Award by the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. According to the council there are 330,000 at-risk or compulsive gamblers in Wisconsin alone.

Mother and former Girl Scout troop leader stole more than $800,000 and lost it ALL on casino slots in desperate attempt to feed gambling addition

An Oklahoma mother was caught stealing more than $800,000 from ATM machines, and authorities say she lost it all gambling at local casinos. Authorities caught 48-year-old Lawton mother Maria Martin when the gas station ATMs she was supposed to be filling kept turning up empty. Martin’s job was to refill the ATMs with funds from Arvest Bank and Fort Sill Credit Union, but instead she started keeping the money in 2011 to spend at the casinos. Prosecutors say she visited local casinos like Comanche Nation at least once a week, and would spend up to $70,000 in stolen money on the slots. On one occasion she made ten visits to a casino in a single day. In January, the former Girl Scout troop leader was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. ‘It’s just outrageous,’ US Attorney Sanford Coates told KOFR. Obviously, you have the banks and financial institutions whose money was taken, and over $800,000 in course of the scheme, but the other layer of victim is the company that she worked for. This was a company that was a small business, very successful, had been around for many years, decades. They lost a lot of trust from their clients, and lost a lot of business,’ Coats added. But Martin’s attorney says her crimes are only a product of a sad addiction to gambling.

Man claimed to have trust fund scams $500,000

A Baton Rouge man has admitted defrauding people out of more than half a million dollars by promising to pay them back later from a multimillion-dollar trust fund, federal prosecutors say. U.S. Attorney Walt Green said in a news release Monday that 34-year-old Johnathan E. Williams pleaded guilty Friday to wire fraud. As part of his guilty plea, he admitted that from 2008 through 2011, he defrauded many people to get money for gambling and other personal expenses. Williams told victims he would repay them when he got control of the supposed trust fund, according to Green. Green said Williams could get up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and an order to repay the money when U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson sentences him. A Florida man sent Williams and his associates about $300,000, starting in February 2009, Green said. He said the man asked in June 2009 about repayment and Williams faxed a letter on an attorney’s letterhead falsely stating that Williams had a trust fund holding more than $20 million.

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

Florida House Democrats to Block Deal with Seminoles

Casino Watch Focus reported that this year’s Florida Legislative session was moving at its typical quick pace and the House had already passed a gambling bill to create a new gambling commission a Gov. Rick Scott asked the Senate to hold off passing similar measures until he had a chance to finalize a gambling compact with the Siminole Tribe. The State’s compact with the Siminoles will have a big impact on the direction or financial impact of gambling in Florida.  Now Florida Democrats have said they will block any new compact that doesn’t conform with their specific gambling demands.  An online source is reporting the demands:

House Democrats say they will kill a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe unless it includes more games for South Florida pari-mutuels.

Without the support of the Democratic caucus’ 44 members, the chamber won’t be able to ratify an agreement, House Select Committee on Gaming Chairman Rob Schenck acknowledged.

“The fate of the compact is in serious jeopardy if we do not have some bipartisan support. It?s a basic principle of math,” Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said.

Schenck’s arithmetic lesson is grounded in history. The House has historically balked at expansions of gambling and, as in the past, now includes more than a dozen conservative Republicans who will vote against any gambling-related legislation. That makes putting together a bipartisan coalition critical to get to the 61 votes needed for ratification.

If Gov Scott acquiesces to their demands, it builds in even more expanding gambling worries for Florida’s families.  If, however, Gov Scott doesn’t and the Democrats don’t ratify the new treaty, its possible no gambling bills will get through this session.  The online source explains:

The elements of any deal hinge on the tribe’s exclusive rights to have certain games, even if only in certain geographic areas, and revenue paid to the state. Federal law requires any revenue-sharing agreement with the state to include something of value for the tribe, and the feds have to sign off on any compact struck between Florida and the Seminoles.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is insisting that his chamber won’t authorize any legislation unless Scott finalizes a deal with the Seminoles.

Jim Shore, the Seminoles’ general counsel, wrote in an op-ed published in the Sun Sentinel newspaper earlier this month that the state should reject destination resort casinos included in a Senate gambling proposal and instead stick to its agreement with the tribe.

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

Brief Look at Crime 03/24 – 03/30

Harry Reid may be implicated in online gambling corruption investigation

Harry Reid, the United States Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, could be implicated in a corruption investigation that is taking a look at state politicians and online gambling interests, according to Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill – as reported by ABC News on Thursday.  The Utah officials claim the evidence in the investigation relates to suspect financial transactions including campaign contributions to state – as well as federal politicians – which is where Sen. Harry Reid’s name comes up in the investigation.  When looking at federal-level officials like Sen. Harry Reid, Rawlings suggests that the United States Department of Justice get involved with the investigation.  Rawlings said that the federal government basically should look at their own – to look at allegations of conduct or misconduct involving this federal official.  Gill agreed totally.  He says there could possibly be an innocent explanation for the evidence that has cropped up, but he says there could also be a more sinister explanation.  According to Gill, that’s what needs to be figured out.  Both Rawlings and Gill took over the investigation two years ago. Utah Attorney General John Swallow was the first to face allegations of corruption, and he resigned his state position last November – after not having been in his elected position for even a year.  When it comes to Harry Reid, Rawlings and Gill are disappointed that the Department of Justice declined to take on the investigation last year – even though local officials consider the allegations to be very serious.

Fraudster Jonathan Revill stole £19m from employer and gambled away £5m

An IT manager who defrauded his employers of nearly £19m to fund a gambling addiction only has assets worth £600,000 left. Leeds Crown Court heard today financial confiscation proceedings against Revill had been agreed and will involve the sale of the home in Huddersfield for which he paid £500,000 in cash. Revill’s benefit from criminal activity was recorded at £18,976,602.63 with his realisable assets set at £608,909.61. Mehran Nassiri prosecuting asked for that figure to be confiscated and paid in compensation to Revill’s employers GDF Suez Ltd. It was agreed that Revill be given six months to pay some of that figure £515,000 from the property in Marsh Lane, Shiply and £21,000 from an investment in Turkey. The rest has already been seized or consent forms signed which the financial officers can realise.

Mandalay Bay agrees to $500K fine

The Mandalay Bay Resort plans to pay a half-million-dollar fine after employees at an upscale Las Vegas Strip lounge provided prostitutes and drugs to undercover officers. The Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a proposed settlement with the casino this week. It’s awaiting approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Authorities say undercover officers bought cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs from employees of the House of Blues Foundation Room over the summer of 2012. Officials say employees also connected officers with four prostitutes and a private room for sex. The sting caught 10 employees and five non-employees engaging in this kind of illegal activity. Two have been arrested, according to Gaming Control Board Enforcement Chief Karl Bennison , and more arrests may be in the works. The arrests were delayed to avoid disruption to the operation.

One dead in double shooting in St. Louis

One person was killed and another injured Saturday in a shooting in the St. Louis neighborhood of Gravois Park, according to city police. Police said both men were gambling with several other people in the rear of a building in the 3500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue about 5:40 p.m. when a gunman approached from the alley and began shooting at the group. The gunman then ran from the area. Police identified the dead man as Clem Russell, 19, of the 4100 block of Humphrey Street. He died of gunshot wounds to his back and shoulder. The injured victim, 20, had gunshot wounds to his shoulder. His condition was not available but police said he was stable at a hospital. Both men were transported by private vehicle to the hospital, where Russell was pronounced dead.

Bank Employee Who Stole Thousands From Elderly Customers Sentenced

A former bank employee was sentenced today for stealing money from the accounts of elderly customers, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release. Bartlesville resident Patricia L. Swearingin, 67, was convicted of stealing from 23 elderly customers by using her position as a Savings Officer at Osage Federal Bank. The bank is now named American Heritage Bank. She was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa to one year and one month in federal prison for stealing a total of $147,466.30. In December 2013 she pleaded guilty to misapplying funds. Swearingin withdrew funds from bank accounts owned by elderly people between November 2007 and November 2010. She would then cash a check forged in the customer’s name while telling a drive-through teller that the customer was waiting in her office for the money. The release states that she would sometimes deposit the cash in her personal account but would often spend it on gambling.

25-year-old Hacked to Death after Gambling Row

A 25-year-old man was hacked to death by a  gang allegedly led by a local Congress functionary. The incident was reported at Tsunami Nagar, Semmenchery, on Sunday night. The deceased was identified as Mohan (25), a painter and the husband of Shankari. The couple has a four-month-old daughter and they were residents of Fifth Avenue at Tsunami Nagar. Police said Mohan was returning home after work at around 11 pm, when an armed six-member gang dragged him to a secluded lane near his residence where they hacked him until he collapsed. Hearing his cries, his wife and neighbours rushed to his rescue only to find him in a pool of blood. “The victim had sustained multiple cut injuries on his head, chest and abdomen and had died on the spot,” Semmenchery Inspector Sivakumar said.


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Brief Look at Crime 03/17 – 03/23

Man shot by Las Vegas police had fake gun

The man shot by Las Vegas police last week confronted officers with a fake gun, police said Monday. Jason Mahe, 29, was shot seven times in the parking lot of Dotty’s Casino near Rancho and Vegas drives during the late-night confrontation, according to police. He remained in critical condition at University Medical Center. The incident began when officers were called about about a man and a woman trying to pass counterfeit money in a 7-Eleven across the street from Dotty’s, Undersheriff Jim Dixon said at a press conference. Police found Mahe inside Dotty’s and took him to the parking lot, where he tried to run away, Dixon said. An officer grabbed him, and the two began to struggle over the gun in Mahe’s waistband, police said. Mahe escaped, and the officers took cover while Mahe ran between two cars, ignoring officers’ commands to drop the weapon, Dixon said. When Mahe turned around and tried to pull the gun from his waistband, three officers shot him from about 15 feet away, police said. Dixon said there is no way for officers to notice the difference between a fake gun from a real gun upon first glance.

$100k gambling chip stolen

Two men have been charged over the theft of a $100,000 gambling chip from a high-roller room at Crown Perth. Crown is understood to be reviewing its procedures in the wake of the theft, which is believed to have taken place in the casino’s VIP, high-stakes venue the Pearl Room. A WA Police spokeswoman said the matter was reported  to police by casino staff on January 24. As part of their investigation, Kensington detectives executed a search warrant at a Gosnells house on Saturday and two men were arrested later. A 53-year-old Gosnells man was charged with stealing and a 24-year-old man, also from Gosnells, was charged with receiving. Both are due to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court on March 25. A source told  _The West  _ _Australian  _the $100,000 chip was stolen from a dealer’s chip tray in the members-only room. The missing chip was not found at the Gosnells property but is understood to have been recovered at the casino when a woman tried to cash it in at the Crown complex.

Conway man pleads guilty to bank fraud

The owner of a private photography school in western Massachusetts has pleaded guilty to using $2.6 million of the school’s money to buy a home, clothes and for gambling. George J. Rosa III, owner and president of the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to bank fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors say Rosa, of Conway, used the money for construction at his personal residence, gambling, and approximately $55,000 on clothing, footwear, and accessories. Rosa disguised the expenses by reconfiguring them on the company’s books as proper business expenses. Rosa also used the company’s altered books as a basis to file false income tax returns for himself and the company.

After fight over husband’s gambling, couple ends life

A married couple committed suicide by consuming poison after a vicious fight over the husband’s drinking and gambling habits in Baheri tehsil of this district. Police claimed that the husband, Rajeev,30, first consumed a small quantity of poison to scare his wife after she started quarreling with him over his vices on Sunday night. When his condition started deteriorating, his wife Bhanumati followed suit and drank a large amount of poison, which immediately affected her, police said. The couple’s family members rushed them to hospital on Monday morning, where the wife was declared brought dead by doctors while Rajeev was referred to a private nursing home. He too, succumbed, later in the night. Bhanumati’s in-laws hurriedly performed her last rites without informing the police.

Bayern Munich President Evaded $18.5 Mil in Taxes: Used Money for Gambling

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness stunned a German court on Monday by admitting he had evaded taxes of 18.5 million euros ($26 million) using a secret Swiss bank account – more than five times the amount on a prosecutors’ charge sheet. Once one of Germany’s most admired managers, Hoeness apologised and appealed for leniency at the start of a trial in a case that shocked Germany and prompted other tax dodgers to turn themselves in. Hoeness told the court he used his secret account for more than 50,000 speculative trades in financial markets such as foreign exchange and derivatives from 2001 to 2010. He said he lost a million euros between 2003 and 2009. “It was always clear to me that the account was mainly for gambling,” he said. “It was a real kick, pure adrenaline. I lost track of it all. Everything was a real mess in the end.”

Former Upper Gwynedd Fire Co. Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzling

The former treasurer of a Montgomery County, Pa. fire company has admitted in court that he stole more than $200,000 over a period of several years. Ronald Kenneth Nolan pleaded guilty to felony charges that include theft and unauthorized use of a credit card.  Prosecutors say the 62-year-old Skippack, Pa. man embezzled the money from the Upper Gwynedd Fire Company using two credit cards and by writing cash advances to himself. They say he used the money to pay for personal expenses, fuel a gambling habit, and to pay for his daughter’s wedding. Prosecutor Laura Adshead says she plans to ask for a state prison sentence. “This is a very serious theft,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “It lasted for a long period of time, where he was defrauding the fire company when they had placed him in a position of trust.” Nolan could spend more than 20 years behind bars.  He spent 24 years as the fire company’s treasurer and two decades as the township’s fire marshal.

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

Brief Look at Crime 03/10 – 03/16

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. 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. The fraud had a profound effect on both the company and its owners, said Terra Con Underground president Angelo Puglisi. “Our trust and loyalty were betrayed,” he said in a victim-impact statement read aloud to the court. The impact of the fraud left its owners feeling humiliated, defeated, stressed and paranoid, Puglisi said.

Gambler racks up $12.9 million debt, indictment in Las Vegas

A Canadian real estate businessman was indicted by a grand jury on charges he failed to pay back $12.9 million in gambling debts to two Las Vegas casinos, Clark County prosecutors Wednesday. Semion Kronenfeld faces 12 counts, including theft and obtaining money under false pretenses, for not paying off $7.9 million in markers to the Venetian resort and $5 million in markers to the Green Valley Ranch Resort, according to the seven page indictment. The case has languished in Las Vegas Justice Court since Kronenfeld was first charged in 2008. According to the Toronto Star, Kronenfeld, who is in his 40s, declared bankruptcy in 2009, blaming the global recession. He also blamed his more than $21 million in gambling debts at casinos across North America for their constant incentives to gamble.

 Illegal gambling site evaded taxes on NIS 4.5 billion

Fourteen people were recently indicted on tax evasion offenses related to unreported income of over NIS 4.5 billion derived from an illegal gambling website, it was announced Sunday.  The men, residents of central Israel and Haifa, were all connected with illegal website which operated between 2009-2012, and allowed Israelis to place bets on sporting events throughout the world. All were indicted in late 2013 on offenses related to illegal gambling and money-laundering.  The amended indictments, which now include tax evasion offenses, were filed against the four owners of the website, nine bookies connected with it and one alleged money-laundering accomplice. The website featured extensive betting operations on soccer games, horse racing, and blackjack. Every day thousands of gamblers bet hundreds of thousands of dollars that were cleared through Israeli bank accounts.

Auburn woman who faked cancer to bilk retiree faces prison

An Auburn woman who bilked a trusting retiree out of $400,000 by claiming she was battling cancer will serve 18 months in federal prison if prosecutors have their way. Scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, Julie Ann Dahlquist previously admitted to fleecing the 78-year-old man, who believed he was helping her pay medical bills. Instead, Dahlquist was gambling away the man’s life savings while also collecting welfare payments she obtained through fraud. Dahlquist also stole $17,000 in government benefits meant to help the needy by claiming an “anxiety disorder” made it impossible to work. In truth, she was spending her days gambling away the money she was stealing. Describing the fraud as “truly outrageous,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Wilkinson said the thefts deeply shook the man Dalhquist duped.

Golf course gambling probe has Florida duffers teed off

Cops in one Florida Gulf Coast town would get no respect from Rodney Dangerfield’s “Caddyshack” character, Al Czervik. They’re cracking down on the kind of golf course gambling that was the late funnyman’s specialty in the 1980 classic, telling duffers at the Tarpon Springs Golf Course wagers cannot be par for the course. Police are currently conducting an investigation into whether club officials collected money from members to fund a tournament purse, Gold Digest reported.  The Tampa Bay Times reported that Winship’s course may be in violation of two statutes including keeping a gambling house and game promotion in connection with the sale of consumer products of services.  “It is an ongoing criminal investigation at this point,” Tarpon Springs police spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Young told the newspaper. “I don’t expect it to be a long, drawn-out thing. I know it was started by a letter we received.”Under Florida law, it is a misdemeanor to “bet on result of…contest of skill, etc.”  It reportedly goes on to say “whoever…wagers any money…upon the result of any…contest of skill… shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”

Children Left in Cars While Parents Gamble

At least seven children have been found abandoned in cars outside Maryland casinos since the beginning of 2013, according to a review of state records by the News4 I-Team.  In some cases, the children were left unattended in extreme cold and sweltering heat. The most recent cases include a child left unattended in a car at the Hollywood Casino in Cecil County in January, and a young child left alone in a car outside Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County on New Year’s Eve.  In the latter case, the child’s mother, Alicia Brown, was charged with abuse.  Police said Brown left her 4-year-old daughter alone for eight hours in the garage, while gambling inside.   The girl was found hungry, cold and crying, according to police reports. “Unfortunately, some parents have a gambling addiction that is so strong, they will sacrifice the safety of their children by leaving them alone in a vehicle,” President of KidsAndCars Janette Fennell told News4. The News4 I-Team review found at least two children left unattended outside Ocean Downs Casino on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in August 2013, when the high temperature averaged 82 degrees.

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