Brief Look at Crime 09/01 – 09/07

Fraudster who stole £3m from City firm while working in its payroll department gambled 

A City worker stole almost £3million from his employer then frittered it away on gambling, chauffeur-driven cars and a Thai bride. Dennis Harold, 60, spent six years inventing fake companies and temporary staff to transfer funds from London recruitment firm Devonshire Appointments, where he was a payroll administrator. Today the father-of-four was jailed for four years – along with a colleague who discovered the scam but took £1million to keep quiet. The Old Bailey heard Harold, a trusted employee of 14 years, squirreled away £2.9million through more than 20 invented bank accounts between 2007 and 2013. He then squandered an estimated £1.2million, much of it on his gambling addiction as he paid repeated visits to casinos. The fraud was finally exposed in 2013 when an audit uncovered a small discrepancy in the accounts. Harold initially tried to cover up it up by presenting auditors with false documents, but when that failed he confessed to his bosses. 

Caregiver accused of swindling $1M from woman (FL)

A South Florida caregiver is accused of swindling an 86-year-old woman with dementia out of almost $1 million. Investigators say 39-year-old Marie Petit Louis was arrested Tuesday following a two-year investigation that began shortly before Annette Reff died in 2012. She’s charged with exploitation of the elderly in a complicated bank transfer scheme. Reff’s daughter notified authorities after noticing large chunks of money missing from her savings account. The Miami Herald reports investigators learned Petit Louis instructed investment officials to transfer money from several accounts into a savings account. They say she accompanied Reff to the bank numerous times, withdrawing amounts under $10,000. Petit Louis was a regular at Miami’s Magic City Casino and a member of the High Roller’s Club. 

Wind Gap man who stole from elderly aunt gets 9 months in prison, will owe $237,000

Wind Gap man who looted his elderly aunt’s bank accounts will serve nine to 23 months in Northampton County Prison and owe nearly $237,000.Michael Dovyak Jr., 54, blamed a gambling addiction when he pleaded guilty in July to felony theft. He was sentenced Friday by President Judge Stephen Baratta, who also put him on probation for three years. Dovyak admitted draining money from the accounts of Martha Liero, who had raised him from childhood. He’ll be required to make restitution to the beneficiaries of the late Liero’s estate, who include other nieces and nephews. Liero’s accounts showed numerous checks and cash withdrawals by Dovyak, which he could not explain. Authorities said he also transferred ownership of Liero’s trust and retirement accounts into accounts belonging to him. Initially, Dovyak claimed that had used several thousand dollars of the money for Liero’s “care and well-being.” But he later admitted he dissipated the money through gambling and other expenses, authorities said. 

Long-delayed bingo theft trial on docket for $400,000 gambling embezzlement

A mother and daughter accused of embezzling $734,738 in bingo proceeds are set to finally go to trial Monday in Luzerne County Court. Court documents filed at that time indicated an investigation and audit by the state Bureau of Charitable Organizations — launched in 2005 after Drago allegedly submitted incomplete information as part of a routine survey — found more than $558,000 in unaccounted revenue. The audit showed a total income of $1.32 million, with only about $765,000 in deposited bank income. A search warrant affidavit alleged Drago and Gamble had written $416,077 in checks to themselves from January 2004 to September 2006.

Md. man left child in car while gambling

Delaware State Police have arrested a Maryland man for leaving his child unattended in a car while he was gambling in a casino. State troopers were called to Harrington Raceway and Casino just Monday afternoon for a child left in a car parked in a handicapped parking spot. Police say the engine was still running, and the child did not appear to be in distress. Troopers removed the 14-month-old girl from the car, and casino managers paged for the owner of the vehicle. Police say 26-year-old Justin Middleton of Preston, Maryland, responded to the car. He initially denied leaving the baby in the car but later acknowledged he had left the girl in the car while he was inside gambling. Middleton was charged with reckless endangering and other charges. 

Northborough priest charged with stealing $230K to support gambling habit

WORCESTER, Massachusetts — A Roman Catholic priest is scheduled to appear in court to answer to charges that he stole more than $230,000 from the Northborough parish where he served as pastor to support a gambling habit. The Rev. Stephen Gemme, former pastor of St. Bernadette, faces arraignment in Worcester Superior Court on Wednesday following his indictment by a grand jury last week on five counts of larceny by a common scheme over $250. The Worcester Diocese announced last October that Gemme had stolen from two accounts since 2008. The thefts went undetected until a member of the school’s advisory board flagged a financial irregularity in a school account and informed Worcester Bishop Robert McManus. Gemme acknowledged a gambling problem and offered his resignation, which was accepted, according to a letter from McManus to parishioners.

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