Brief Look at Crime 04/28 – 05/11

Miami-Dade police bust over 200 people is large cockfighting ring

The tip came in a few weeks ago: Someone told police that people were gambling and selling drugs at a home in the Redland in deep South Miami-Dade. Undercover Miami-Dade police officers, posing as customers, started dropping in and making drug buys.  On Thursday, armed with a search warrant, police entered the home and made an eye-catching discovery: 200 people, some armed, almost all gambling, standing and seated around a cockfighting ring that had been built in a theater-like setting. Police found firearms, drugs, thousands of dollars and dozens of roosters inside small stacked cages. Money was found everywhere, said Miami-Dade Detective Roy Rutland. Rutland said the crowd taken into custody at the three-bedroom, two-bath home can expect charges including illegal weapons, narcotics, illegal gambling and cruelty to animals. Though cockfighting is fairly common, especially in deep South Miami-Dade, Rutland called Thursday’s haul “one of the larger ones we’ve seen in quite a while.”

Former police union leader Robbie Freitas is in court to take plea in Allied Veterans case

The former second in command of the Jacksonville police union is expected to plead guilty today in the Allied Public Corruption scandal in Sanford.  Yates said Freitas believes the plea deal is in his best interest, classifying it as a “plea of convenience.” He will plead guilty to one felony count of structuring a financial transaction and one misdemeanor count of running an illegal lottery. Freitas has been charged with 17 criminal counts, including charges of racketeering and money laundering. Freitas is a former Jacksonville police officer who was first vice president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police at the time of his arrest in February 2012. He was put on unpaid leave and later retired. Bob Finkbeiner with the Office of Statewide Prosecution said last week that Freitas would not be sentenced until everyone else in the case is dealt with. State officials arrested 57 people in the case, but after Freitas pleads only seven will be left.  Authorities said the St. Augustine-based nonprofit, which operated dozens of gaming centers throughout Florida, pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars and engaged in illegal gambling. Allied operated centers, called Internet cafes, out of about 50 strip malls throughout Florida. Customers bought Internet time at computers that also featured sweepstakes games that simulated slot machines. Prosecutors said the centers were mini-casinos, and most patrons who bought Internet time actually didn’t use it because most came to gamble.

Gambling boss draws 18 months jail

The manager of an illegal, multi-million dollar gaming ring got 18 months in jail Tuesday — his 51st birthday. Gary Saikaley told members of the press gathered for his plea and sentencing not to make him look bad, but he needn’t have bothered. By any account — particularly that of Crown prosecutor Julie Scott, who read out the agreed statement of facts — Saikaley was very good at what he did. Tasked with the administration of a betting ring at a Plantagenet motel, as well as a gambling website, Saikaley’s efforts grossed his gang $5 million, Scott said. Net profits were estimated at $1.2 million. Undercover cops placed several bets with Saikaley — including a $2,000 bet on the 2012 Superbowl — during the two-year investigation. He was ultimately arrested in November 2012. “Gaming is one of the spokes of criminal organization,” Scott said, likening it to running guns, women and dope.

Leader of Sports-Gambling Ring Gets Year in Prison

The son of a billionaire art collector was sentenced Wednesday to serve a year and a day in prison for running a sports-gambling ring that booked millions of dollars in bets. Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, 35 years old, was arrested in April 2013 along with 33 others, including some reputed Russian organized-crime figures, and was originally charged with racketeering, money laundering and fraud. In November, he pleaded guilty to operating a gambling business that catered mostly to super-rich Russians bettors. As part of his plea, he admitted he was one of the leaders and organizers and the prime financing source of the illegal sports-gambling business. The other charges were dismissed as a result of that agreement.  Judge Furman didn’t appear moved. “I think there is only way to make Mr. Nahmad understand his actions have consequences…and that is not to cut him a break and use more of his family’s money but instead it is to send him to prison,” the judge said. In court, Mr. Brafman said that Mr. Nahmad’s father was a world-class backgammon player and a gambler. “He grew up in a culture where gambling was legal and gambling with high stakes was not only done but it was normal,” Mr. Brafman said.

Couple Will Forfeit $2 Million From Illegal Gambling Operation

A defendant in an illegal gambling case out of Oklahoma has agreed to forfeit $2 million in cash and property to the federal government as part of a plea deal. The complaint alleges that Adlai Stevenson Brinkley placed illegal slot machines in bars, lodges and veterans’ posts throughout Oklahoma and in Kansas. “For the past 22 years, Adlai Brinkley … has continuously been the head of a large-scale, illegal gambling enterprise operating throughout the state of Oklahoma with the base of operations located at Star Amusement Incorporated … in El Reno,” a federal investigator reported in a court affidavit in March 2013. Adlai Brinkley, 52, and his wife, Pamela Brinkley, 51, were charged last week with aiding and abetting each other in the state gambling operation.

‘Poker Princess’ gets probation for role in $100 million gambling ring

“Poker princess” Molly Bloom avoided jail time when he was sentenced Friday to a year probation after admitting to being a key player in an illegal $100 million high-stakes gambling ring that catered to A-list celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and deep-pocketed Wall Street financiers. “It’s been a great opportunity for growth, and I’ve learned many valuable lessons,” Bloom, 36, told Furman shortly before he handed down a probation sentence that requires to perform 200 hours of community service. The judge, however, warned Bloom about her tell-all memoir “Molly’s Game” that’s supposed hit bookshelves this June, saying he hoped she “really learned” her “lesson” and that the book wouldn’t take a flip attitude towards her crimes. Bloom was well-known for hosting under-the–radar games for celebs including DiCaprio, Alex Rodriquez and Tobey Maguire, as well as the filthy rich. Walden told the judge that one celeb she threw games for was a horrible boss, saying — without naming names — that he was “pampered … with a lust for money.”

Comptroller of Frontier Leasing Embezzles $4.9 Million

A Neosho man faces up to 30 years in federal prison after pleading  guilty to embezzling $4.9 million dollars from a Joplin trucking firm. 60 year old David Van Winkle was the comptroller for  Frontier Leasing Incorporated. He deposited checks from customers in both the company’s real accounts and into a secret account. Van Winkle pled guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and failure to pay taxes on the embezzled money. Van Winkle used  the money on personal expenses and gambling. Besides prison time he faces a fine of up to 750 thousand dollars. And must pay back the 4.9 million, forfeit a 2013 Holland tractor, a 2007 hummer and other equipment.

Cockfighting ring grossed $1 million a year

Three Floyd County, Ky., residents have been charged with operating what a federal agent described as one of the largest, most lucrative cockfighting rings in the country.  Federal authorities charged Walter Dale Stumbo, 51; his wife, Sonya Stumbo, 51; and his son Joshua Stumbo, 25, with conspiring to conduct illegal cockfights and to operate an illegal gambling enterprise, according to documents in federal court.  The three allegedly helped run a large cockfighting ring called the Big Blue Sportsmen’s Club at McDowell, which featured arena-style seating and a full-service restaurant. The investigator estimated that the enterprise grossed $1 million a year, not counting hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal betting.

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

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