Brief Look at Crime 05/12 – 05/25

Tampa pastor found dead amid embezzlement probe

A Tampa pastor was found dead of an apparent suicide amid an investigation he had embezzled about $200,000 from his church, authorities said. The Tampa Police Department said the Rev. Vladimir Dziadek, 56, was discovered by a maintenance worker Monday morning at the bottom of a staircase at the offices of St. Joseph Catholic Church. He had apparently hanged himself with a belt tied to a banister. A report from the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner noted police said Dziadek was depressed after parishioners discovered the alleged embezzlement to fuel a gambling habit. The report said the priest had been removed from administrative duties at the church and was set to appear at a hearing Monday with members. Frank Murphy, a spokesman for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, said the diocesan finance office was nearing the end of its investigation. Murphy said Dziadek was “very well-received” at St. Joseph but had a history of depression. The medical examiner’s report said liquor bottles and casino vouchers were found in Dziadek’s room, but provided no elaboration. Authorities said no suicide note was found. “Our detective is in the final stages of the investigation into his death,” police spokeswoman Laura McElory said.

‘Tsunami of Corruption’ is Heading for Aussie Sports Warns Match-Fixing Expert

Journalist and corruption in sport expert Declan Hill has warned of a “tsunami of corruption” about to hit Australian sport. He uttered the dire warning while addressing the second Victoria Police Integrity in Sport Symposium in Melbourne. “The match fixing linked to the Asian gambling networks have destroyed most Asian sports. “The sports fans of Asia, the gambling people, the fixers of Asia are now going to turn their attention to Australia.” The Australian continent is no stranger to recent match-fixing controversies.  Hill’s comments come at a time when a senior coach and four players on the Melbourne soccer club were charged with criminal offences over six Victorian Premier League games in 2013. Deputy commissioner Graham Ashton also spoke at the conference. “The sports that are most at risk are the ones that attract the most betting dollars,” Mr Ashton told Fairfax Radio. “There’s over 8000 sports betting operators worldwide now and they’ll frame a market on anything,” he said. “If you indicate to some of these operators, particularly the ones that operate offshore and illegally, that you want to be on something they’ll frame a market on it.”

China jails US businessman 20 years in mob trial

 BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court sentenced a Chinese-American businessman on Thursday to 20 years in prison on charges of heading a mob that kidnapped rivals and operated illegal casinos, and rejected his claim that he was tortured by police.  The Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement on its microblog that Vincent Wu operated illegal casinos that raked in 48 million yuan ($7.8 million), got an associate to throw acid at a judge who ruled against him in a lawsuit and ordered thugs to set fire to sheds owned by farmers who refused his offer of compensation to clear off land he wanted to develop. About two dozen other defendants in the case received sentences of between 19 months and 19 years. Many of the defendants declared in court that they had been tortured by police — deprived of sleep or beaten — into confessing to assault, kidnapping and other violent crimes. About 20 of them recanted their confessions.

Report finds 4 out of 5 sporting bets are placed illegally

Four out of every five bets made on sport are placed illegally, leading to $140bn being laundered each year, according to a two-year study on the scale of betting corruption. Football and cricket are most at risk of manipulation as organisers struggle to protect events from criminals seeking to exploit the rapid rise of online betting, which accounts for 30 per cent of all sports gambling activity. Match-fixing scandals have dogged cricket’s Indian Premier League and other competitions, while football’s main governing bodies Fifa and Uefa have struggled to contain outbreaks of betting-related corruption in several countries. The report, from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the International Centre for Sport Security, focuses attention on Asia, which the researchers said makes up 53 per cent of the illegal betting market. It said 80 per cent of sports betting around the world was illegal and that the number of illegal operators was impossible to estimate. The authors warned regulators were failing to keep up with the rapid growth in illegal activity. Chris Eaton of the ICSS said organised crime was infiltrating the global sports betting market.

Mark Twain Casino among 11 casinos reporting security breach

Affinity Gaming, which owns Mark Twain Casino in LaGrange and 10 other casinos in four states, has confirmed that its credit and debit card system for non-gaming purchases has been hacked. In a press release, the Las Vegas-based corporation said the security breach “resulted in a compromise of credit card and debit card information used in non-gaming purchases from individuals who visited its casino and casino resort facilities.” The company said credit or debit card data was exposed at all 11 of its casinos for customers who made food, beverage, hotel or retail purchases with their cards between Dec. 7 and April 28. This includes the company’s two Missouri properties — Mark Twain Casino and St. Jo Frontier Casino in St. Joseph — along with one casino in Iowa, three in Colorado and five in Nevada. Affinity, formerly known as Herbst Gaming and based in Paradise, Nev., is urging customers who used their credit or debit cards for such purposes “to take steps to protect their identities and financial information.”

Kansas investigates $10M missing from credit union

A fired Parsons-Pittsburg Credit Union employee is believed to have embezzled $10 million in missing deposits from the now defunct operation and gambled away much of the money, recently released court documents show. The filings last week in U.S. District Court in Kansas reveal for the first time the magnitude of losses that led the Kansas Department of Credit Unions in January to place the state-chartered credit union into conservatorship. It ultimately found it insolvent and liquidated it in March, with another credit union assuming operations. It remains unclear how so much money could have disappeared without authorities noticing sooner. Department administrator John Smith said Monday that the credit union submitted incorrect data about accounts that regulators didn’t know existed. He said a forensic audit is underway to determine how it was done. “A loss of this size is painful to us,” Smith said. “It looks like we are not doing our job. That is not the case.” “But in a small credit union sometimes those things can occur without the checks and balances of a larger staff,” Schaefer said Monday. “A smaller credit union, or any kind of a financial institution that is small, has a limited staff. That can have an effect on the amount of dual control that is available.”

Woman carer is found guilty of murdering patient to gamble his money

A Sydney carer was found guilty of murdering Bill Adamson, 84, after she gave him a lethal dose of pain medication. Kerry Forrest, 54, had wrested control of the sale of his house and used the funds to feed her gambling addiction. The elderly man was killed at Maclin Lodge Motel in Campbelltown – Sydney’s southwest – in April 2010. In handing down his verdict following the judge-alone trial on Tuesday, Justice Peter Hidden said Forrest had killed Mr Adamson by making him ingest a lethal dose of the morphine-based pain killer MS-Contin. ‘It is most likely that she crushed tablets and mixed them with his food,’ he told the Supreme Court. Forrest, the court heard,  had been employed by Mr Adamson as a live-in carer in September 2009 after his wife Beryl died. From this point, Justice Hidden said, her ‘behaviour points to a calculated course of dishonest conduct’. Forrest became increasingly involved in his financial affairs and by February 2010 helped him sell his Kareela home in southern Sydney for $690,000. The money from the sale of the elderly man’s Kareela home was transferred into Forrest’s bank accounts then into poker machines Gaming managers at league clubs in Parramatta and Cronulla regularly watched her play more than one machine at once. Plainly enough, Justice Hidden said, the primary source of her gambling funds came from the sale of Mr Adamson’s house.

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