Brief Look at Crime 11/17 – 11/23

Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

 The admiral fired last year as No. 2 commander of U.S. nuclear forces may have made his own counterfeit $500 poker chips with paint and stickers to feed a gambling habit that eventually saw him banned from an entire network of casinos, according to a criminal investigative report obtained by The Associated Press. Though Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina’s removal as deputy head of U.S. Strategic Command was announced last year, evidence of his possible role in manufacturing the counterfeit chips has not previously been revealed. Investigators said they found his DNA on the underside of an adhesive sticker used to alter genuine $1 poker chips to make them look like $500 chips. The case is among numerous embarrassing setbacks for the nuclear force. Disciplinary problems, security flaws, weak morale and leadership lapses documented by The Associated Press over the past two years prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Nov. 14 to announce top-to-bottom changes in how the nuclear force is managed that will cost up to $10 billion.

The records obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act show Giardina was a habitual poker player, spending a total of 1,096 hours — or an average of 15 hours per week — at the tables at the Horseshoe casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the 18 months before being caught using three phony chips in June 2013. He was such a familiar figure at the casino, across the Missouri River from his office near Omaha, Nebraska, that some there knew him as “Navy Tim.” But they may not have known he was a three-star admiral and second-in-charge at Strategic Command, the military’s nuclear war-fighting headquarters. Strategic Command also plays key roles in missile defense, cyberdefense, space operations and other functions.

SEC Wins $3.6M Against Company Linked To Advisor-Crooner

An Oklahoma-based Internet company has been ordered by a federal judge to pay millions in a multi-layered case revolving around a Tulsa, Okla., investment advisor representative who the SEC says stole $4.7 million from clients to pay gambling and other expenses, according to court records. According to the complaint, Dearman raised money between December 2008 and August 2012 by selling promissory notes in Bartnet, but failed to disclose he was receiving fees from Gray for each note sold, according to the SEC. Dearman falsely claimed Bartnet planned to use the funds to purchase transmission towers and other equipment with the money instead of fueling Gray’s gambling habit, the SEC said. In an earlier court ruling on the SEC charges, Dearman was ordered to pay $1.09 million and Gray was ordered to pay $3.57 million.

San Gabriel con man handed 100-month prison term

A San Gabriel con man who went on the lam after skipping his sentencing hearing for defrauding homeowners out of as much as $10 million was sent to federal prison Thursday for more than eight years. David Kaup, now 31, was initially scheduled to be sentenced in December 2012 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, but failed to appear in court. He was arrested a year later in Las Vegas, where he was living under an alias. Morrow mentioned that Kaup’s family members had written to the court, telling the judge that the defendant’s gambling addiction was apparently at the root of his fraud operation. Kaup operated American Loans and Funding as well as two other businesses in which he falsely promised victims he could refinance their homes at low interest rates and invest their money. The scheme “had serious consequences for the victims,” Morrow said, adding that those who had been defrauded included senior citizens and parents of disabled children.

Pokies cash theft arrest

A MAN faces 18 charges in relation to burglaries and thefts on a number of gambling venues in northern Victoria. Thefts at Kerang, Kyabram, Tatura and Benalla in Victoria and Moama, Barham and Mathoura in New South Wales between May 22 and November 5 involves a total value of stolen cash and damage in excess of $250,000. A MAN faces 18 charges in relation to burglaries and thefts on a number of gambling venues in northern Victoria. Thefts at Kerang, Kyabram, Tatura and Benalla in Victoria and Moama, Barham and Mathoura in New South Wales between May 22 and November 5 involves a total value of stolen cash and damage in excess of $250,000. Burglars forced their way into the Kerang Sports and Entertainment Venue twice within a week and stole cash from poker machines and damaged a number of others. Surveillance footage revealed three hooded offenders on one occasion and four on another.

Executive Director Of East Orange Non-Profit Admits To Stealing Hundreds Of Thousands

The 64-year-old former executive director of the East Orange Revitalization and Development Corporation admitted to stealing $380,000 from the nonprofit devoted to developing low-income housing. According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office: Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that the former executive director of an East Orange non-profit development agency pled guilty today before the Honorable Peter Ryan, Judge of the Superior Court, to stealing $380,000 from a nonprofit developer of low-income housing over a five year period. Lancie Marchan, 64, currently of North Brunswick, was executive director of the East Orange Revitalization and Development Corporation. From 2005 to 2010, she stole funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included refurnishing her former residence in Orange, trips, hotel stays at casinos.

Ex-Ossining banker stole $1.4M, gambled at casinos

A former manager of the village’s M&T Bank branch stole over $1.4 million from two trusting customers, including a retired cop, and apparently hit the casinos, authorities said. Maria Rodriguez, who lives in Mount Kisco, was arrested Thursday morning at her home by Ossining police detectives after a grand jury handed up a 27-count indictment, which included charges of grand larceny and tax fraud. Beginning in June 2008, Rodriguez started systematically stealing from the customers, one of whom she had known since the mid-1990s, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office said. The other victim was a 92-year-old former village police officer who retired in 1973. Ossining police Detective Lt. William Sullivan said Rodriguez is believed to have used some of the cash to gamble, including at Empire City Casino in Yonkers.

Charges recommended for gambling identity Stephen Fletcher 

Criminal charges have been recommended against one of the country’s most notorious gamblers, Stephen Fletcher. A report by the Police Integrity Commission inquiry has found that Mr Fletcher engaged in fraud when he used the identities of a string of police officers to hide his gambling activities with a number of betting agencies. Criminal charges have also been recommended against another gambler, Darren Azzopardi, and two police officers, former homicide detective Tony “Soup” Williams and Marc Smith, who recently resigned from the police force. Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, a close personal friend of Mr Fletcher’s, introduced Detective Williams to Mr Fletcher and the prominent gambler also employed Ms Cunneen’s son, Stephen Wyllie.

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

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