Brief Look at Crime 07/28 – 08/03

Romanian gambling addict ‘hacked seven-month pregnant wife to death and cut throats  

A gambling-addicted father hacked his pregnant wife and two children to death to save them from torture by loan sharks, police believe. Tunde Keri, 36, and sons Toni, five, and Rafael, 18 months, were found dead at the family home in Val-de-Marne, near Paris, after worried relatives could not contact her on her phone. Construction worker Florin Sebastian Balan, 38, who had moved to France from Romania with his family in 2012, was later arrested and allegedly told police his family were threatened by loan sharks. Both children were found with their throats cut, while seven-months-pregnant Mrs Keri suffered multiple chest and neck wounds.

Operators of illegal gambling website admit to conspiring with organized crime family

Two Springfield men admitted in federal court today to collaborating with an organized crime family to run an illegal sports betting website, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. In separate cases, Joseph Graziano, the 77-year-old owner of the Costa Rica-based website Beteagle.com, and his employee Dominick “Harpo” Barone, 44, each pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. The crew, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, was run by Joseph Lascala, 80, of Monroe, a made member of the Genovese family operating in northern New Jersey. LaScala, Graziano and Barone were among 13 men charged with racketeering conspiracy in a 2012 criminal complaint. In court, Graziano agreed to forfeit $1 million to the government, and Barone agreed to forfeit $100,000. Each faces a maximum potential of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Millions reported stolen from Albania central bank

lbania’s central bank says 713 million leke (5 million euros; $6.75 million) has been stolen from its reserve storage building. Authorities arrested two bank employees last week. The Bank of Albania, which is in charge of the country’s price stability and manages 16 private banks, said Wednesday that the cash was stolen over time. It did not provide further details, but insisted that the bank’s operations had not been affected and it was supplying the country’s banking system with the necessary liquidity. Local media reported that one of the suspects acknowledged the theft over the last four years, saying he had spent much of the money on gambling.

Gambling addict faces prison for stealing £140,000 from his employer

A gambling-addicted engineer has admitted stealing more than £140,000 from the Suffolk company he worked for. Stephen Endreson is now likely to receive a jail sentence after pleading guilty to theft by employee at Ipswich Crown Court. The 47-year-old appeared via a video link from Norwich Prison for his plea and case management hearing. Endreson worked for Wrightfield Ltd in Eye at the time of the theft. He was originally accused of stealing £142,559.97 over a two-month period from the firm which manufactures food conveyors. However, prosecutor Martin Ivory told the court the amount had been reassessed. It was now accepted to be £852.97 less, which meant the overall total stolen was £141,707. The offence took place between January 5 this year and March 4. Ian James, representing Endreson, said his client was subject to addictive personality traits. He added that Endreson was receiving counselling while in prison for his gambling issues.

Former conservator admits stealing $120K to feed gambling habit

Former conservator Stephen Grisham said he does not know the exact amount that he stole from people under his control, but he and prosecutors agree it was in the neighborhood of $120,000. Grisham, 53, now faces a presumptive sentence of 24 to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty Monday to a single count of misappropriation by a fiduciary, a felony. The conviction stemmed from Grisham’s role as a professional caretaker of the money and lives of vulnerable adults. In this case, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigated Grisham for embezzling benefits for unnamed veterans and other beneficiaries. “I took money that wasn’t mine to feed another addiction,” Grisham told U.S. District Judge John Tunheim. Tunheim asked the nature of that addiction, and Grisham said, “Gambling.”

On Duty Shooting, Gambling Led To Theft 

Sentencing is scheduled for Monday, for a former Hartford Police detective who admitted to stealing almost $30-thousand in concealed weapons permit fees. In a pre-sentencing court filing, federal prosecutors write that Tishay Johnson corrupted his office and betrayed the trust placed in him by the city of Hartford. They ask the judge to issue a sentence of between 6 months and a year in jail. But the defense argued that Johnson took the money to feed his casino gambling addiction, and that he suffered from PTSD, because of an incident in which he was shot while on-duty. Johnson ran the city’s concealed weapons permit program.  He altered hundreds of checks and money orders, to make it look like they had been made payable to him. Federal prosecutors say Johnson stole an average of one or two checks per week, for five years.

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

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