Brief Look at Crime 03/23 – 03/29

Gambling debts led to man’s death

A 30-YEAR-OLD family man left a stack of gambling debt bills in his car before taking his own life, an inquest has heard. Philip Stretton died after being hit by a train near Stretton on November 4 after racking up debts he had largely hidden from his family and fiancée. He had been living in Nottingham but was raised in Stretton. PC Andrew Hamilton, of the British Transport Police, carried out the investigation and spoke at the inquest. He said: “Phil was at his mother’s address two days before. He seemed happy. However, on November 3 and 4, he failed to turn up for work and chose to keep this from his fiancée. “His car was found near the train tracks. There were various debt letters from various companies. “The gambling debt letters suggest they played a part in his decision.

Treasurer Who Stole $150,000 In Church Funds To Fuel Online Gambling Addiction Jailed

A church treasurer who stole around $150,000 in order to fuel her online gambling addiction has been jailed, despite her attempts to escape justice by claiming she’s ill. When Nicola Holding became the trusted treasurer of the St Boniface Church in Plymouth, she was described by other congregants as a “pillar of the community,” not only for her work with the church but also with the pre-school connected to it. Nonetheless, Holding was reportedly funnelling off money from the church and spending on her addiction, online gambling, as Plymouth Crown Court heard today. For her part, 50-year-old Holding pleaded guilty to fraud two years ago, but failed to turn up at court claiming she was too sick to do so.

Former Wash. developer gets 4 1/2 years for gambling related tax evasion

A former Bellevue, Washington, developer and lender who spent millions on gambling, horse racing, private aircraft and property while ignoring a big tax bill has been sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison for tax evasion. Federal prosecutors say 68-year-old Thomas Hazelrigg III hid his income and assets in the names of other people. He was sentenced Thursday in Seattle. After a nine-day trial, a jury convicted Hazelrigg of tax evasion last December. U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly ordered Hazelrigg to pay more than $1 million in restitution to the IRS including taxes, interest and penalties.

Upstate man admits running $10K per day illegal gambling operation 

A Spartanburg man has admitted to running an extremely profitable illegal gambling operation and faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. According to filed court documents and court proceedings, from sometime in 2012 to October 2014, Calhoun and Steen owned and operated an illegal video poker gambling business in Gaston County. According to court records, Calhoun provided management advice and capital while Steen was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business. The gambling business, known as “Mr. Lenny’s Place,” operated out of a large warehouse in Gaston County and was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, according to court records. At its peak, the gambling establishment housed approximately 63 video poker machines, employed more than eight employees and generated, on an average, more than $10,000 per day, court records show.

WA man swindled $200,000 to fuel gambling addiction

A PERTH man who swindled a total of about $200,000 from several victims to fuel his gambling addiction has been jailed for five years. * Anthony George Collie, 32, pleaded guilty to 14 charges including knowingly making a false statement in a statutory declaration, gaining benefit by fraud, unlawfully using a restricted access computer, and attempting to steal shares. The West Australian District Court heard on Tuesday that Collie’s gambling problem involved the “extensive use” of Perth’s sole casino and travels to Sydney and Melbourne. In one instance, a woman was persuaded to hand over $25,000 after Collie told her it would be used for her father’s investment. Her father lost almost $130,000 to Collie.

Former Centra Health Credit Union manager pleads guilty to embezzlement

The former manager of the Centra Health Credit Union pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $1 million and could face up to 30 years in federal prison. Claudia Rawes, 61, of Forest, formally was charged at a hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg. She waived her right to be indicted and under a plea agreement admitted to embezzling and stealing funds from the credit union in a variety of ways beginning in the early 1990s. “The evidence would show she embezzled between $1 million and $2 million,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bubar said after the hearing. Rawes said in court she is undergoing counseling and weekly attends a gamblers’ anonymous meeting. Mark Arthur, her attorney, said she accepts responsibility for her conduct and is cooperating with authorities in the matter.

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