Brief Look at Crime 05/25 – 06/07

WWII veteran’s stepdaughter spends his life savings on pokies 

HE worked hard for more than 50 years to ensure he lived out his final days comfortably and left plenty behind for his family. But instead, World War II veteran Lawrence Lane died almost penniless and devastated after his stepdaughter robbed him of ­hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed her gambling addiction. Julie Kemp, 66, was convicted last week of 50 counts of dishonestly obtaining benefit by deception after she gambled away almost $250,000 of Mr Lane’s money without permission. Over a period of two years Ms Kemp is alleged to have stolen $248,000, including a $100,000 nursing home deposit, which she subsequently gambled on the poker machines at various RSL and sporting clubs.

Manalapan lawyer stole $2.6M for gambling

A Manalapan man who worked as an attorney for a home health care company in Ocean County stole more than $2.6 million from his employer to fuel a gambling addiction, he admitted in federal court today. Matthew S. Neugeboren, 39, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return before Judge Mary L. Cooper in U.S. District Court, Trenton. Neugeboren worked as general counsel for the company, not named in court documents, from 2006 to 2013 and maintained an attorney trust account to pay for business expenses. He requested checks and wire transfers into that account, authorities said. Neugeboren admitted that he stole $2,644,911 from January 2008 through December 2012.

Newport Beach man accused of running $13-million Ponzi scheme 

A 30-year-old man from Newport Beach is accused of financing his lavish lifestyle by running a phony investment scheme that netted him more than $13.5 million, authorities said Thursday. Brandon Walton Stewart told four investors — including a 92-year-old relative — that their money would be added to an investment fund with corporate stocks and foreign holdings, according to the Newport Beach Police Department and the Orange County district attorney’s office. But the investors didn’t receive the promised returns, police said. With the nearly $10 million Stewart allegedly bilked from investors as part of a Ponzi scheme that began in 2009, he took trips to Las Vegas on a private jet and gambled thousands of dollars in casinos, police said.

Casino-style gambling machines have led to a rise in crime, say campaigners

Controversial casino-style gambling machines are responsible for a 20 per cent rise in crime at betting shops as addicted punters turn violent, campaigners say. New figures show that betting shops across the country were forced to call out police officers 9,083 times last year, an increase of 1,600 incidents on the previous year. FOBTs have been dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling” because players can stake up to £100 every 20 seconds. They have been condemned by fair-gambling campaigners along with Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

Sebring woman gets 10 years in prison for embezzling $1 million

At least for the next 25 years — and possibly much longer — Sebring resident Marlie Joann Westervelt won’t be living the life of a millionaire. Westervelt, 58, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and up to 30 years probation Monday after pleading no contest to charges stemming from the embezzlement of $1.1 million from Sebring Heart Center, will face tight controls on her life, even after she serves her time. An apparently unrepentant Westervelt was sentenced by Circuit Judge J. Dale Durrance after pleading no contest to charges of scheme to defraud, three counts of first-degree grand theft, forgery, uttering a forged instrument, credit card fraud, making a false entry on the books of a corporation, money laundering involving $100,000 or more and money laundering involving $20,000 or more. The agreement requires her to get treatment for gambling addiction. She has also agreed to pay $3,238.36 per month in restitution during her probation.

Grandmother goes to jail for stealing $143k from a charity 

A GRANDMOTHER who stole more than $143,000 from a not-for-profit organisation for disabled men has been sent to jail. Sharon Joy Matthews, 51, pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore District Court yesterday to fraud as an employee. And while stealing alone was a terrible crime, Judge John Robertson suggested stealing from a government-funded not-for-profit organisation was worse. Judge Robertson refused to consider Matthews’ gambling addiction as an exceptional circumstance to excuse her action and reduce her sentence. “There has to be a distinction between greed and need. This is not a need case, it was to gamble,” he said.

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

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