Brief Look at Crime 03/16 – 03/22

500 Illegal Gambling Machines Seized During Sweep (FL)

Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies say more than $117,000 and more than 500 illegal gambling devices were seized recently at multiple locations. The Bradenton Herald reports that since January, the sheriff’s office has been investigating illegal gambling operations throughout the county in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Illegal Gaming Task Force. According to a release, undercover investigations led to the execution of six search warrants. A sheriff’s spokesman described some of the illegal gambling devices as old-fashioned slot machines.

Gambling addiction led woman to steal

Hitting the jackpot at a casino in 2009 turned out to be the worst thing that ever happened to Lucia Motowidlo. Looking to repeat that success, Motowidlo, also known as Lucie Derro, kept going back to the casino, spending everything she had. She eventually maxed out her credit cards. Her secret gambling addiction and the constant need for money saw Motowidlo turn to her employer — the Christ the King Development Corporation — for a new source of funds. The Christ the King Development Corporation is a non-profit corporation that operates the 155-unit Christ the King seniors housing building on Elgin Street. She began taking money in January 2009. She stopped in late September 2011. The theft of $331,000 cost Motowidlo her job as centre administrator in early 2012, as well as her marriage. On Monday, it earned her a 15-month jail sentence. “I lost my marriage of 40 years,” a tearful Motowidlo, 64, told Ontario Court Justice Normand Glaude. “I lost both of my families. I lost my friends and people in the community I had worked with.

4 family members get federal prison terms in embezzlement case on Fort Peck Indian Reservation 

Four members of a Montana family have been sentenced to federal prison on charges related to the embezzlement of more than $132,500 from the town of Brockton on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Desiree Lambert — the town’s 59-year-old former business manager — received a term of almost four years during a recent hearing in Great Falls before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris. She pleaded guilty in November to fraud, embezzlement and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors say she forged the mayor’s signature to write municipal checks payable to herself and family members. Authorities said the family spent the money for gambling and household items.

Federal charges for man accused of passing counterfeit bills at casino (FL)

A Pompano Beach man with a seemingly chronic habit of passing counterfeit money is now facing federal charges on top of state charges for alleged deeds at the Seminole Classic Casino. Bernardo Lecaros, who had been previously banned from all tribal properties, is accused of passing $5,400 in counterfeit cash at the casino in December and possessing another $37,800 in fake bills. Federal charges were filed Monday. Lecaros, 35, faces three counts: one for passing $2,400 on Dec. 10, one for passing $3,000 on Dec. 14 and another for the fake bills found in the trunk of his rental car at the casino at 4150 N. State Road 7. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, records show.

Birmingham fraudster stole £4.5 MILLION from bosses to feed gambling addiction 

A “young professional with the world at his feet” stole £4.5 MILLION from two international property firms to feed a raging gambling addiction. Terry Childress, 34, masterminded a complex fraud while working for BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPPRE) and GVA Grimley between 2007 and 2012. The father-of-one falsified receipts for rental income and client payments and used faked invoices to suppliers to pocket a total of £4,434,274. As he was jailed for five years at Birmingham Crown Court it was heard Childress, of Aubrey Road, Harborne, tried to cover his tracks by using colleagues’ computer log-in details and by transferring cash to family and friends. Meanwhile, he was gambling massive amounts on a daily basis – losing millions to bookies Ladbrokes and Betfred.

74-year-old woman who served as accountant for orthodontist stole more than $680K

An audit of records showed that Sakach wrote 340 fraudulent checks on the Chu Crew account, totaling $680,197.99, police say. Police say Chu Crew Orthodontics was a vendee of a company called ORMCO based in Anaheim, California. They say in December of 2006, Sakach opened a bank account at Chase Bank for a false company called ORNCO. Then, police say Sakach continued to create checks for the Chu Crew TCF account made out to her fake company. Checks written on the ORNCO account were made out to and signed by Sakach. Police say Sakach used them at places like Kohl’s Department Store, Time Warner Cable and other credit card companies where Sakach had accounts. In addition, ATM withdrawals were made at 172 W. Canal St. in Milwaukee, which is the Potawatomi Casino, and at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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

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