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

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