Brief Look at Crime 05/18 – 05/24

Miami Ex-Officer Gets Two Years’ Prison For Gambling Bribes 

A former Miami police officer has been sentenced to two years in prison for accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from an illegal gambling operation. A federal judge last week also sentenced 24-year-old Jerry Sutherland to perform 150 hours of community service and pay a $2,000 fine. Sutherland must forfeit $3,400 he was paid in bribes. He pleaded guilty to extortion. Court documents show that while working for the Miami Police Department, Sutherland accepting 10 bribe payments from the gambling operation. Sutherland admitted providing protection for the operation, arranging for charges to be dropped against one of its employees and increasing police presence at a rival gambling house to discourage customers.

Feds: Man admits staging $200,000+ robbery with Bethalto bank manager 

A man from Moro, Ill. pleaded guilty to bank robbery Wednesday and admitted staging a robbery with the financially struggling manager of a Bethalto bank, federal prosecutors said. Eugene Ray Babcock, 58, claimed in his plea agreement that Matthew Liebheit, a manager of the Liberty Bank branch in Bethalto, approached him with a plan to rob his own bank. On Dec. 13, the pair met at a Schnucks store near the bank. Babcock, using Liebheit’s pickup truck, followed Liebheit to the bank, where he pretended to force him into the bank with an Airsoft BB gun, Babcock’s plea says. Liebheit had told police and the FBI that he’d been approached in the parking lot by an armed man and forced to open the vault, then pistol-whipped and duct-taped. His story started falling apart when police pulled surveillance tapes and spotted Liebheit’s truck leaving the bank. He claimed it had broken down, and he left it at a supermarket with the keys in the ignition, Babcock’s plea says. Investigators also learned that Liebheit had “issues with gambling and significant debts,” Babcock’s plea says.

Munster accountant charged in 34-count federal indictment

A Munster accountant accused by the feds last fall of stealing from a client to gamble at local casinos is facing 34 new federal charges, U.S. Attorney David Capp announced Thursday. A federal grand jury returned a 34-count superseding indictment charging Jack Weichman with nine counts of bank fraud, 14 counts of bankruptcy fraud, two counts of money laundering, four counts of wire fraud and five counts of filing false federal income tax returns, court records show. The indictment alleges Weichman used the lines of credit to pay off gambling debts at local casinos.

Shore business owner sentenced for $7.2M fraud

Federal agents raided the home of an Eastern Shore business owner last year hoping to find evidence of identity theft and tax fraud.”I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Adriana Mirarchi, who worked with the IRS for the investigation. “I don’t think any of us thought it would be quite so well organized, and I don’t think any of us thought she would really have everything she had.” Linda Avila, 50, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in federal prison for her role in a $7.2 million fraud scheme, which involved the filing of more than 1,700 fraudulent tax returns over the span of at least six years. “This is a massive criminal enterprise,” said U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson, who went on to refer to Avila as a “master criminal.”Stoker said it appears most of the money paid for a heavy gambling habit. He noted that she and her boyfriend regularly visited Dover Downs in Delaware and Ocean Downs in Maryland. One of the casinos indicated she visited 281 times in a three-year period.

Facebook Share Scammer Found Guilty Of Bilking Family Office 

Troy Stratos, who lied his way into the wealthiest circles in Silicon Valley, used the frenzy for pre-IPO Facebook Inc. shares to bilk investors out of $11.25 million, a federal jury in California concluded. Instead, Stratos spent the money paying off old gambling debts and buying a small fleet of luxury cars, the U.S. Justice Department alleged in its 2013 indictment. Stratos’s scam was exposed when he was arrested in a Los Angeles luxury condominium on Dec. 20, 2011, on charges in a separate scheme. In that one, the government alleges that Stratos stole $7 million from Nicole Murphy, ex-wife of comedian Eddie Murphy, after convincing her to let him invest her divorce settlement. Stratos is scheduled to go on trial in that case on Oct. 5.

Macau casino-related crime rises as gambling profits tumble

Forced collection of debts, arson and document forgery crimes are all on the increase in the former Portuguese enclave. Macau has been hit by a sharp rise in casino-linked crime as gaming revenues nosedive amid Beijing’s drive to clean up the world’s biggest gambling hub, putting the cash-squeeze on its notorious criminal underbelly. Security chiefs in the former Portuguese enclave say the number of illegal detentions – the bulk of which involve forced collection of gaming debts by triads – almost doubled to 67 in the first three months of this year, from 37 in the same period last year. There has also been a surge in the number of arson attacks, document forgery cases and what the authorities describe as “crimes jeopardising the territory”.

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