Brief Look at Crime 02/09 – 02/15

Pa. business teacher stole $175,000 from union to feed gambling addiction

A business teacher has been charged with stealing $175,000 he blew on lottery tickets and at casinos while serving as treasurer of his union at suburban Pittsburgh school district. Defense attorney Christopher Thomas says 44-year-old Edward Maritz Jr. is taking responsibility for the crimes because his “conscience caught up to him.” Maritz is on sabbatical from the Pine-Richland School District. Allegheny County district attorney’s detectives say Maritz confessed to keeping members’ dues and to stealing the money by writing 157 checks to himself since June 2010. He was hired as a middle school teacher in August 2009. Detectives say Maritz told them he is a “pathological gambler” and was caught in a “perfect storm” adding, “People trusted me and I took advantage of the trust they had in me.”

Ex-Treasurer of CT. Canine Search and Rescue Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Group’s Funds

The former treasurer of the Kensington-based Connecticut Canine Search and Rescue pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $150,000 from the group and using the money to gamble and pay for personal expenses. Connecticut’s U.S. Deirdre M. Daly announced that Thomas Recck, 50, of New Britain, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to fraud and tax charges Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in Bridgeport.

Philly Mobster Anthony Nicodemo Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death

Reputed Philadelphia mobster, Anthony Nicodemo, has plead guilty in the December 2012 shooting death of Gino DiPietro. “Yes,” he told Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. “No,” he said. “Guilty,” he said three times. Nicodemo, who authorities believed once “exercised leadership authority” over a multi-million dollar sports betting business that operated illegally from the Borgata Hotel poker room, could serve upwards of 50 years for his crimes. DiPietro reportedly had been a confidential informant who helped put his younger cousin in prison by wearing a body wire.

Former ACTTAB employee who stole $1.4m ordered to pay penalty 

A Canberra woman who stole $1.4 million from the ACT’s betting agency ACTTAB has been ordered to pay a penalty of more than $1 million. Pamela Susan Close, 60, was an employee of ACTTAB and stole the money by placing bets on races after they finished. She used the winnings mostly to gamble on racing, poker machines and online betting, but gave some money to charity. In 2013 Close pleaded guilty to the crime, which went on for a decade before being noticed. Close was jailed for a year and is now free, but efforts by authorities to seize her assets have continued. Supreme Court Justice John Burns today ordered Close to pay a penalty of just over $1 million.

Casino, Online Poker Owner Charged With Attempted Murder: Blew Up Attorney’s Car

A Canadian businessman has been charged with attempting to murder an attorney in the Dominican Republic. The Lawyer, Fernando Arturo Baez Guerrero, had been hired by Antonio Carbone to run his troubled casinos on the Caribbean island. Carbone, 40, of Woodbridge, was arrested by Dominican police in late January while attempting to board a flight to Canada and is currently facing one year of pretrial detention. The casino owner is accused along with his brother Francesco and two other men of blowing up the attorney’s Jaguar by throwing an incendiary device into this vehicle. Guerrero, who was still in the driver’s seat at the time, survived the blast.

Priest gets probation, to repay $240K 

Roman Catholic priest has been placed on five years’ probation and ordered to repay nearly $240,000 he stole from his former parish to cover a gambling addiction. The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reports the Rev. Stephen Gemme was sentenced after pleading guilty Wednesday to two counts of larceny. Gemme told Judge Janet Kenton-Walker he is “deeply ashamed and sorry.” He was removed from his job at St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough in 2013 after the loss was discovered. Prosecutors said Gemme stole the money over a five-year period beginning in 2008, five years after he became pastor. Gemme is on medical leave and undergoing treatment for problem gambling.

Crown Casino gambling couple jailed after being lured into heroin syndicate to ‘work off’ debts

County Court Judge Duncan Allen said despite the criminal venture, the duo had nothing to show for it due to their constant gambling. “What profit you had made from your drug trafficking activities had either been gambled away or used to repay some of the debt,” the judge said. He said senior syndicate figure Khanh Duong lent the couple money and in 2010 offered Bui the opportunity to “work off” his and his former wife’s gambling debts. “This is a sad and common story that is heard in these courts,” Judge Allen said. He said Ms Vo had “a serious gambling addiction” and frequented Crown Casino — sometimes multiple times a day — despite having excluded herself from the complex.

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

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