Brief Look at Crime 08/25 – 08/31

Woman accused of stealing Maryland Live high-rollers list for rival casino

A former employee of Maryland Live stole a list of high rollers and used it to recruit gamblers at her new job with Baltimore’s Horseshoe casino, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court last week. Helena Wong worked as a VIP host at Maryland Live until June, according to the suit, when she took a new job at Horseshoe. Before leaving, she copied a list of Maryland Live’s 1,000 best customers and used it to send a mass e-mail to arrange for them to come and play with her new employer, according to the lawsuit. “If any of you would like to visit the property or come for a night or two, please contact me ahead of time so that I can set it up for you,” Wong wrote in an Aug. 20 email included in the court filings. “Look forward to seeing you all!!” On Friday, a federal judge in Baltimore issued an emergency restraining order that requires Wong and anyone else to stop using any alleged stolen information. Horseshoe is not named as a party to the suit but the allegations underscore the fierce competition between the two casinos that the opening of the Baltimore venue Tuesday night is expected to generate. In the suit, Maryland Live calls Horseshoe “its principal competitor.”

Oakland police: Nephew killed himself after aunt died in staged robbery


A man who committed suicide in March by setting himself on fire had killed his 77-year-old aunt the month before during a home-invasion robbery he staged in their apartment to get money to apparently pay off gambling debts, authorities said Friday. After being presented with DNA and other evidence gathered by police in the death of Susan Fong on Feb. 7, prosecutors decided the case could be closed under the legal concept of death of the offender — her nephew Richard Fang, authorities said. Alameda County district attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said the case was “intensively investigated by the Oakland Police Department and thoroughly reviewed by this office. It has been determined that the person responsible for the murder of Mrs. Fong is now deceased. We are certain we have identified the offender and he is no longer alive.” Fong died of probable asphyxia due to tape applied over her nose and mouth. Fang also had tape over his mouth. Authorities later learned she had been given an extra sleeping pill the night before by her nephew. 

More than $100,000 stolen in Hialeah Park robbery, police say (FL)


More than $100,000 were stolen from Hialeah Park Racing and Casino during an armed robbery Sunday, police said. According to detectives, a man wearing a ski mask struck an elderly employee in the side of his head while he was in an office where people bet on thoroughbred horses. Detectives said he then tied the victim’s hands together with nylon tie-wraps, and stole a large sum of money, estimated to be more than $100,000. Police said the robber was armed with a gun, but officials at Hialeah Park said the weapon was later discovered to be a toy gun. Police said the victim was knocked unconscious and the thief managed to get in and out of the building within a few minutes. 

Treasurer of historic private member’s club stole more than £500,000


The treasurer of one of Britain’s most historic private member’s clubs is facing jail after stealing more than £500,000 to feed a gambling habit. Alfonso Ramirez, 44, swindled the East India Club, in London’s exclusive St James’s district, out of £553,129.52 over a four-year period while serving as the club’s accounts manager. The East India Club in London’s exclusive St James’s Square has attracted the great and the good for more than 160 years, including Prince Albert, Lord    Mountbatten and Lord Randolph Churchill. The mansion house boasts 66 bedrooms and charges annual fees of up to £985 for its 5,200 members. After the theft was discovered, embarrassed officials were forced to write to each member to inform that the money had been stolen from club funds. Ramirez transferred £536,600 into his private bank account from the special interest account of the club between January 2010 and January this year. Ramirez appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday to plead guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position. 

DCFS seizes $2M in gambling winnings from dead beat parents


The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reported more than $2 million in state gambling winnings have gone directly to the children of parents behind on child support. According to DCFS, $2,052,985.80 in winnings was intercepted as of June 2014. Officials said they garnered it from 1,526 parents. “It is a tremendous accomplishment to collect more than $2 million through casino intercepts in this amount of time,” said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. “Each collection made, large or small, proves that this program is an essential tool for collecting what is owed to Louisiana’s children.” Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge was No. 2 on the list in intercepts with $177,494.33. Boomtown Belle in New Orleans was first with $191,006. 

Parents detained after 2 kids found alone in car parked outside casino


The parents of two children, a 1-year-old and 4-year-old, are in police custody after being accused of leaving their children inside a car parked at a casino parking lot. Hialeah Police Detectives have charged Tyrell Johnson and his girlfriend, Josephine Laidler, with child neglect after the couple allegedly left their two children alone inside a parked car outside Hialeah Park Casino at 2200 East 4th Ave., shortly after midnight Thursday. But this is not the first time this has happened in South Florida. In January, Anthony Wells left his two children, ages 4 months and 18 months, inside a parked car at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. He was charged with child neglect. In July of last year, two women left four children between the ages of 2 and 8 years inside a running car at the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach. One of them said the devil was to blame. “It comes to a point where God is talking here, and the devil is trying to trick you here,” said the woman as she pointed at her heart and head. Both women were also charged with child neglect.




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