Brief Look at Crime 04/06 – 04/12

Woman Convicted of Killing Gambler for $10K Casino Winnings 

A woman has been convicted of killing a gambler she followed after he won $10,000 at a Southern California casino. The Orange County Register says 51-year-old Barbara Ann Hamel was convicted Monday of first-degree murder and robbery. Hamel originally pleaded guilty and faced a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, but she later withdrew her plea. She now faces life in prison without parole when she is sentenced May 29. Hamel’s accomplice, Tad Allen Carroll, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years to life. Prosecutors say the pair followed 55-year-old Chi Bui after he won $10,000 at the Hawaiian Gardens Casino in 2010. Prosecutors say Carroll knocked him down, and Hamel drove over his head, killing him instantly.

Jacksonville, Fla. Police Union President, VP Plead Guilty in Slot Machine Scam

It was a scam that was the talk of Florida. And two cops, both leaders in their police union, played no small part in making it happen. This past January, Nelson Cuba, former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), pleaded guilty to three charges related to his transferring more than $500,000 from an illegal gambling enterprise to his own use. Ex-FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas had pleaded guilty last April. The convictions were part of a state probe into a gambling and money-laundering operation nominally run by a charity. Participants netted nearly $300 million until the ring was busted two years ago.

Montco check-cashing couple gets 5 months for role in betting ring 

The husband and wife owners of a Philadelphia check cashing business have been sentenced to five months in prison for laundering money from a multimillion dollar sports gambling operation run by a former mayor’s son-in-law. A judge Monday also sentenced 71-year-old Joseph Vitelli and 67-year-old Anna Rose Vitelli to five months of house arrest once they’re released. The Conshohocken couple pleaded guilty last year to laundering more than $500,000 and giving the betting ring an office. Harry Murray, a 62-year-old Florida bookmaker who pleaded guilty to laundering money through the Vitellis, was sentenced to eight months in prison and eight months of house arrest.

Ex-treasurer of Houston health firm gets 5 years for fraud 

The former treasurer of a Houston-based health care system has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for embezzling nearly $3 million. Joseph S. Antonucci of Houston was sentenced Tuesday and ordered to repay the stolen funds. Antonucci last fall pleaded guilty to 15 counts of wire fraud, five counts of money laundering and to making a false statement to law officers. Prosecutors say the 42-year-old Antonucci used money from Patriot Managed Health Care Systems Inc. for private jet travel, gambling in Las Vegas and to pay off his credit card bills. Investigators say the fraud happened from 2007 through September 2012. Antonucci created false documents and sent emails with bogus financial data to help conceal the embezzlement.

Local Businessman Pleads Guilty to Fraud Totaling $3 Million

United StatesAttorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield businessman pleaded guilty in federal court Apr. 3 to engaging in fraud, even after he was under indictment and while incarcerated totaling more than $3 million in losses. Gregg was the principal shareholder and a director of Southwest Community Bank which closed May, 2012. In the plea agreement Gregg admitted that he directly contributed to the failure of the bank. Southwest Community Bank lost $679,399 on Gregg’s personal line of credit and $871,125 on a commercial real estate fraud scheme perpetrated by Gregg, with loses totaling $1,550,524. On Jan. 3, 2012 Gregg presented five checks, payable to Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., each in the amount of $10,000, knowing his credit union account contained insufficient funds to cover those checks. Between Feb. 16 and March 1, 2012, Gregg presented five checks payable to Downstream Casino and Resort in Quapaw, Okla., in the total amount of $60,000, knowing his bank account contained insufficient funds to cover those checks.

Lincoln pharmacist accused of bilking Medicaid for $2.5M

A judge said a Lincoln pharmacist jailed on suspicion of bilking Nebraska’s Medicaid program out of nearly $2.5 million is a flight risked and ordered him to remain jailed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Everett said during a detention hearing for Tran on Friday that the FBI had learned Tran had wagered more than $11 million since 2006 at Harrah’s and Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and was allowed to make bets of as much as $20,000 a hand on blackjack. Tran spent more than $800,000 at the two casinos between Dec. 1 and Feb. 27, Everett said. Tran’s defense attorney, John Berry Jr., argued for Tran’s release, saying he has significant ties to the community. “Gambling, like any addiction, is a problem, but it’s treatable,” Berry said.

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