Brief Look at Crime 11/24 – 11/30

High roller who gambled up to $9 million sentenced to five-and-a-half years for drug trafficking

A HIGH roller who turned over $9 million at Townsville’s casino has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for trafficking drugs to feed his gambling problem. Ronald Frederick Dix, 58, sold more than $200,000 of cannabis to 170 customers, in 1080 transactions between February and September 2013. In one occasion, police followed Dix out to Frosty Mango’s where they intercepted a drug deal, finding 2.28kg of cannabis in Dix’s car and $22,700 in the second vehicle he was meeting. A Townsville District Court heard Dix had a severe gambling addiction, and that all of his drug earnings went on games at Jupiters Casino. Dix will be eligible for parole on March 7 next year, after pleading guilty to drug trafficking and other charges of possession.

Judge says Tonkins trying to stall $845K embezzlement trial

Just nine days before their $845,000 embezzlement trial is set to begin, Nancy and William Tonkin drew the ire of a Lehigh County judge on Friday by complaining about their attorney and asking for a continuance. “Quite frankly, I see this as a stall factor,” Judge Robert L. Steinberg told the couple. “I am not pleased with this development.” The judge ordered the couple to return to court on their trial date, Dec. 1, along with two new lawyers. Attorney Dennis Charles had represented both Tonkins, but was granted permission to withdraw from the case after telling the judge that his relationship with the couple is now “irreparably broken.” Nancy A. Tonkin, 67, and William J. Tonkin IV, 70, of Little Lehigh Drive South in Emmaus, were charged with fraud last year following a grand jury investigation. Prosecutors say Nancy Tonkin, the former utility supervisor for South Whitehall Township, stole $845,000 in taxpayer money and, along with her husband, used the cash to finance a gambling habit.

French tennis official receives life ban for gambling and match-fixing

An obscure 22-year-old French tennis player and official, Morgan Lamri, has been banned for life for gambling and match-fixing. Lamri, unranked as a junior or Tour professional, played a handful of minor matches on the Futures circuit, the last recorded of them when he double-bagled as a wildcard entrant in a qualifier in Morocco two years ago. The Tennis Integrity Unit, based in London, on Monday cited only Lamri’s role as an “official” when announcing he had been “banned from the sport for life after being found guilty of multiple offences”. They would not say where or when the offences occurred. Their statement added, without details, that there were “16 separate breaches of Section D.1.a of the 2012 and 2013 Programmes”, which covers betting on any tennis competition. “Independent anti-corruption hearing officer Jane Mulcahy QC considered the case and imposed the sanction,” the statement added.

Former executive Andrew Sigalla to face trial for $8.7 million fraud

A FORMER high-flying executive accused of using $8.7 million of company funds to pay his gambling debts to high-profile bookmaker Tom Waterhouse and other loans has been ordered to stand trial. Andrew Sigalla, the former executive chairman of the sharemarket-listed technology company TZ Limited, declined to respond at a committal hearing in the Dowling Centre Local Court yesterday in relation to 24 embezzlement-related charges. The offences were allegedly uncovered after Sigalla was replaced as TZ chairman by Sydney home loan entrepreneur and Celebrity Apprentice TV host Mark Bouris. Mr Bouris, shortly after being appointed chairman by TZ’s largest creditor — the US hedge fund QVT — hired a forensic accountant to examine the company’s finances. The findings of that examination were then reported to the corporate regulator ASIC. Magistrate Lisa Stapleton said she was “satisfied as required” that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the case. In one instance a $300,000 payment from TZ to one of ­Sigalla’s companies listed as a “capital raising fee” was then transferred to pay down a gambling debt to Mr ­Waterhouse, it is alleged.

Man gets 11 years for stealing $1M in copper wire

A northern Indiana man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison after he admitted to stealing $1 million worth of copper wire from a recreational vehicle plant where he worked. Jeffery Miller pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen goods and money laundering. He was ordered to pay Heartland more than $1 million in restitution in monthly payments of at least $100 starting 30 days after his prison release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Schmid argued Miller deserved a longer sentence under federal sentencing guidelines because he had paid at least five other individuals to help him steal the copper spools, cut off the ends of the spools to hide their origins and take them to a Michigan scrap metal dealer to avoid Indiana’s tighter scrap yard regulations. Miller used the money to gamble at casinos to establish a documented source of the cash when he deposited it in the bank. He made sure the deposits did not exceed $10,000 each so it wouldn’t trigger banking rules requiring more documentation, Schmid said. Defense attorney Fred Hains described the theft as a desperate attempt to feed his gambling and methamphetamine addictions.

Spectator Shot Dead by Police in Raid on Cockfighting Match

Police shot dead a 25-year-old man at a cockfighting match in Tbong Khmum province Tuesday, in what they claimed was an accident during a raid on the illegal event. Chhay Oeun was among the spectators at the outdoor match in Memot district’s Chan Moul commune when district police raided the event and began firing warning shots to prevent people from fleeing, provincial police chief Mao Pov said. “[Police] did not intend to shoot and kill people,” Mr. Pov said. “They shot to warn people not to run away. They shot into the air and a bullet hit a tree and ricocheted and hit the man.” Mr. Darith said the illegal gambling ring had been operating in the commune for about a month, changing the location of fights to evade detection.

Carer Kerry Forrest given effective life sentence for killing elderly man to feed her gambling habit

Kerry Forrest was this year found guilty of murdering 84-year-old Bill Adamson by making him ingest a lethal dose of a morphine-based painkiller in a Sydney motel room in April 2010. The 54-year-old had been hired as Mr Adamson’s live-in carer less than a year earlier after his wife, Beryl, died. Within six months, Forrest helped him sell his home in Kareela, in Sydney’s south, leaving them with a profit of more than $300,000. She then began to squirrel the money into several of her bank accounts and spend the proceeds on poker machines in clubs across Sydney. Justice Hidden acknowledged that the minimum term was “well beyond her life expectancy” of six to 18 months, given she has incurable cervical cancer and a complex of other conditions. However, he said it was not in his power to consider an early release.

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