Brief Look at Crime 06/16 – 06/22

Macau busts $645 million World Cup betting ring 

Police have smashed an illegal betting syndicate in Macau for allegedly taking the equivalent of US$645 million in bets on World Cup matches. It’s believed to be the biggest ever raid on an illicit football bookmaking racket in the Asian casino capital, according to police. The gambling ring used three hotel rooms to take internet and phone bets from around the world, a first coordinator for the Macau Judiciary Police told CNN. One gambler placed a bet valued at around US$5 million, initial investigations found. Police arrested some 22 people from mainland China, Hong Kong and Malaysia in the raid on Thursday. Two of the suspects, from China and Malaysia, were believed to be the ringleaders of the syndicate. Officers seized cash worth around US$248,000, along with 17 computers, at least 10 cell phones, and betting slips. A second gambling syndicate was busted in the same hotel hours later, with police arresting four Chinese men early Friday morning. According to police, the second betting ring took around US$645,000 in illegal bets on World Cup matches in a single day.

Princess to change plea in cockfighting case

PORTLAND, Ore. — Court documents show a change of plea hearing has been scheduled for Irina Walker, the Romanian princess accused of participating in a cockfighting ring in rural Oregon. Federal prosecutor Stephen Peifer confirmed that Walker is scheduled to plead guilty, but declined further comment. Walker’s lawyer, Per Ramfjord, was out of the office Thursday and didn’t return a message. Irina Walker has lived in Oregon for many years. She’s the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I. Authorities say she and her husband, John, staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies between April 2012 and April 2013. They were charged with unlawful animal fighting, conspiracy to violate the animal welfare act and operating an illegal gambling business. 

Drug dealer trafficked heroin to pay mounting gambling debts

A drug dealer trafficked heroin to pay off gambling debts he had built up. Officers seized heroin worth nearly £140,000 which was linked to Warren Hennelly from houses in Aberdeen and Foveran in Aberdeenshire. Hennelly, 32, formerly of Pennan Road, in Aberdeen, now faces an action to seize crime profits after admitting drugs charges. Hennelly said during an interview that he had built up a gambling debt and started looking after heroin, delivering it and taking control of buyers’ cash after he was offered a way of pay off the money owed. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin between November 6, 2012 and February 28, 2013, when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Wrentham woman charged with stealing nearly $3 million from employer 

A Wrentham woman has pleaded not guilty to stealing $2.7 million from the medical supply company where she once worked. Prosecutors say 39-year-old Laurieann Richard used the money she stole from Dale Medical Products in Plainville over several years on shopping sprees at local stores and online retailers, for gambling, dinners out and even to make payments on her Jeep. Richard pleaded not guilty Tuesday to multiple counts of larceny and was held on $35,000 cash bail. Prosecutors say she embezzled the money between 2007 and 2014 while she managed the company’s accounts payable processes as well as the disbursement, management and payment of corporate credit cards. Her lawyer said her family has been “devastated” by the allegations.

Man admits to stealing over $1 million from Citibank by using casinos

A Fillmore man admitted in federal court in San Diego Tuesday to organizing and leading a conspiracy to steal more than $1 million from Citibank through cash-advance kiosks in a dozen casinos from Southern California to Nevada. Keshishyan and his confederates then traveled to various casinos, including the Morongo, Pechanga, San Manuel, Agua Caliente, Chukchansi, and Spa Resort casinos in California; the Tropicana, Wynn, Bicycle, and Whiskey Pete’s casinos in Las Vegas; and Harrah’s in Laughlin, Nevada. Once inside a casino, Keshishyan instructed the conspirators on how to conduct identical fraudulent withdrawals at cash-advance kiosks within a short time window in order to circumvent Citibank security procedures.

Guilty plea in $20 million fraud of Thunder Valley Casino owners 

High-flying developer Bart Wayne Volen pleaded guilty Thursday to three felonies in connection with a scheme that prosecutors say looted between $17 million and $19 million from the owners of Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln. Volen, 55, also agreed to pay restitution of at least $17 million and to cooperate with federal prosecutors seeking convictions of two other men who are charged with helping him defraud the United Auburn Indian Community in an overbilling rip-off involving a massive construction project. The government charged that Baker and Hinz participated with Volen in a scheme that stretched from October 2006 through November 2007. The trio allegedly stole from the tribe by overbilling for an Auburn construction project involving four buildings and known as the Indian Hills Office Project, or IHOP, according to court documents. Volen, a Sacramento developer at the time, was hired in 2006 to oversee the project, but prosecutors say he and his colleagues quickly settled into a pattern of thievery that at times was as simple as adding a digit to an invoice.

29 arrested in alleged multi-million dollar NJ sports gambling ring

Authorities in Northern New Jersey say they’ve taken down a major sports betting ring in New York and New Jersey. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says 29 people have been arrested in an alleged gambling ring that netted approximately $3 million over a 12-month period. Molinelli says the ring accepted wagers on various sporting events including horse racing, football, basketball, hockey, and baseball. Search warrants were executed in New York and in the New Jersey counties of Bergen, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Essex, Union, Ocean and Monmouth. Molinelli says two vehicles and approximately $800,000 were also seized.

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