Brief Look at Crime 11/03 – 11/09

Three North Nevada men wanted in tribal casino ‘takeover’

The Reno U.S. Marshal’s Office is seeking three men with “strong ties” to Northern Nevada in connection with an armed takeover of a tribal casino near Fresno, Calif., last month. In a news release Tuesday, the Marshal’s Office identified the three as Timothy Tofaute, 46, and David Dixon, 35, both residents of Sparks, and Brian Auchenbach, 38, of Gardnerville. All are wanted in Madera County, Calif., on felony charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Oct. 9 incident at the Chukchansi Indian Resort and Casino in Coarsegold in the Sierra foothills north of Fresno, according to the news release. “All three have strong ties to Northern Nevada, and it is our belief they are in Northern Nevada or in California,” said Robert M. Alexander, supervisory deputy U.S. marshal in Reno. An arrest warrant with an $800,000 bail was issued by the Madera County Superior Court on Oct. 31, according to the news release. The release said the three men have “extensive” military and private security training, and Auchenbach is a former deputy sheriff and Tofaute is a former Navy Seal.

State shuts Casino Royale card room, alleging failure to pay off winners 

The California Bureau of Gambling Control on Monday shut down the Casino Royale LLC card room after it allegedly failed to pay off thousands of dollars in winnings to customers. An inspection of the Sacramento card room found that it did not have adequate cash on hand to pay off chips, said Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman with the California Department of Justice. The owners of the club have 10 days to pay players or to request a hearing from an administrative law judge, during which they must be able to demonstrate whether they can pay or not. William Blanas, a partner in the card room, sued managing partner James Kouretas in June, alleging fraud, negligent accounting and breach of fiduciary duty.

South Jersey man scammed investor of $1.2 million, lost $700k gambling in A.C.

A South Jersey man who defrauded a pizza shop investor out of $1.2 million—and lost $700,000 gambling at three Atlantic City casinos—was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. Casino surveillance footage played at trial showed Arena buying chips at a blackjack table with $81,000 in cash he brought in a shopping bag. His federal indictment from 2012 said he gambled at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, and Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. He had other major cash buy-ins at casinos, including $130,985 at the Borgata in June of 2008, the indictment says. A federal jury convicted Arena of 15 counts of mail fraud, eight counts of money laundering, three counts of failing to file income taxes and one count of witness tampering.

Ex-official jailed for $271K theft from Upper Gwynedd Fire Co.

The former treasurer of the Upper Gwynedd Fire Co. for more than 20 years, who stole more than $270,000 from the firefighters for his personal use, woke up Thursday behind bars at the Montgomery County prison. Ronald Kenneth “Ken” Nolan, 63, of the 4900 block of Skippack Pike, Wednesday was sentenced to 11½ to 23 months in jail and to an additional 10-year probation sentence after he completes his parole time. Also, President Judge William J. Furber Jr. ordered Nolan to pay $271,766 in restitution including $33,000 to the fire company and $238,766 to the fire company’s insurance provider. Nolan must pay $2,000 in restitution a month. Authorities alleged that Nolan used the stolen funds for vacations that included a cruise and trips to Florida, Nevada, Jamaica and China and to help pay for his daughter’s 2006 Las Vegas wedding including picking up the airfare costs for himself and 14 others. Nolan also reportedly used fire company funds and credit cards for a gambling habit.

Man gets 5 years in prison for assaulting woman

A Cannon Ball man accused of assaulting a woman in the hallway of a casino on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation has been sentenced to five years in prison. Forty-one-year-old Dustin Lester was accused in February of punching and kicking the woman multiple times at Prairie Knights Casino. U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon says Lester was dating the woman. The assault was captured by security video. Lester pleaded guilty in July to assault with a dangerous weapon. He’ll be on supervised release for three years following his prison term.

Internet gaming firm fined for soliciting banned gamblers 

The online gaming arm of casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been fined $10,000 for sending promotional materials to hundreds of people who had voluntarily excluded themselves from Internet gambling in New Jersey. The fine against Caesars Interactive Entertainment is the first of its type imposed on a gaming operator since New Jersey launched Internet gambling in November 2013, according to Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. New Jersey’s “self-exclusion list” allows compulsive gamblers to voluntarily ban themselves from Internet gaming or from playing in the brick-and-mortar casinos. Casinos and online gaming operators are not allowed to solicit those gamblers or send them promotional materials as long as they remain on the list.

‘Besotted’ teacher stole $89k from school

A teacher stole $89,000 from a preschool she worked at for a man she was “besotted” with, she told a disciplinary hearing. Sayonara Fa’amausili appeared before the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal following a conviction at Manukau District Court for theft. Fa’amausili was found guilty of stealing $89,068 over four years from a preschool where she worked as centre manager. The theft was discovered following an audit of the centre accounts. she was sentenced at court to 40 hours’ community work. Fa’amausili admitted to the theft and told the tribunal she took it because she was struggling financially. She said her criminal actions began after she formed a relationship with a man who had drinking and gambling addictions and who persuaded her to take the money to further his lifestyle. She told the tribunal he had an extraordinary impact on her and because she was so “besotted” with him she was prepared to do anything for him.

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