Brief Look at Crime 07/27 – 08/02

Italy seizes mafia assets worth 2 billion euros in gambling sting

Italian police said on Wednesday they had seized assets worth two billion euros (S$2.9 billion) belonging to a powerful organised crime syndicate, in the latest sting against the mafia. The assets snatched from the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, which controls much of Europe’s cocaine trade, included more than 1,500 betting shops, 82 online gambling sites and almost 60 companies, as well as numerous properties, the police said. Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 28 people suspected of running the gambling empire and placed 23 others either under house arrest or ordered them to check in with the police. The crew is believed to have been headed by mobster Mario Gennaro, who made his way up through the mob in the southern region of Calabria from local to regional chief because of the gambling ring’s success.

Gambling investigation after homicide leads to reserve deputy’s arrest

An investigation into an illegal gambling operation following the fatal shooting of a woman has now led to the termination and arrest of a reserve deputy, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Skipper said the investigation started when Dorothy Hendrix, 76, was gunned down in her driveway in November 2013. He said Hendrix was targeted because of the large sums of money she carried in connection to an illegal gambling operation at 3454 Cinema Center in Anderson. Several gambling machines were seized from the space Hendrix used in the strip mall, Skipper said. He said the store front next door was similar, so deputies got a search warrant for that space, and found several more gambling machines. It was determined that Castrinos owned the strip mall, so Skipper requested an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division. Skipper said Castrinos was arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy and 17 counts of permitting devices used in games of chance. He was relieved of his duties as a reserve officer.

Tabcorp admits failings in ‘dirty money’ compliance claims 

Wagering giant Tabcorp has admitted failing to inform the government’s counter-terrorism financing regulator of suspicious transactions as it battles a potential Federal Court trial and $17 million fine. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) — a government body that seeks to keep “dirty money” out of Australia’s financial system — on Wednesday alleged more than 100 separate breaches of the law by Tabcorp, including an incident of a betting plunge on an NRL Cowboys versus Bulldogs game in 2010 that caused bookmakers to suspend betting. The gambling industry, worth more than $25 billion in Australia, has long been considered a high-risk sector for money laundering because criminals can exploit the high cash turnover and large volume of transactions to camouflage illegitimate transactions.

Man in dock for mother’s murder ‘over bond and gambling

Doreen’s son, Daluxolo, 42, is on trial in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for killing his mother, allegedly over outstanding bond repayments and gambling. The body of Doreen, 58, was discovered in the home she shared with her son in Naturena, in the south of Johannesburg, on September 2 last year. She was killed some time in the five preceding days but the exact date cannot be ascertained. He said that they argued because she had not paid the instalments due on her bond and the bank was threatening to repossess the house. He alleged that she had a gambling habit. He claimed that he and his mother fought physically and he accidentally stabbed her. Sihlali later withdrew those claims in court, saying that he had not been read his rights when he made the statement. The court, however, ruled that Sihlali had understood the seriousness of the statement he had made and allowed it as evidence.

Teen dead after multiple Gambling related shootings in same neighborhood

City and community leaders expressed outrage Tuesday at the recent spate of shootings as police hunted for the killer of 18-year-old Kusaan Tolliver. Tolliver was gunned down late Monday night on a city street. His death occurred four days after another man was shot in the buttocks on the same 500 block of Schenectady Street. He survived. The teen was found with a gunshot wound to the upper body, treated at the scene and taken to Ellis Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police declined to say if the two shootings are linked. The man, who declined to give his name for fear of retribution, was questioned by two city investigators canvassing the neighborhood for eyewitnesses and clues. The homeowner complained about some of the people in the neighborhood who spend their days gambling by playing dice games, smoking marijuana, using other drugs and drinking. He and others said that combination is often recipe for violence, especially by those who lose money. Last month, a few blocks away, LaSean Gause, 19, was shot and killed outside a store on Albany Street.

Anchorage doctor sentenced to prison in Medicaid fraud case

Anchorage physician Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh buried his face in his hands Wednesday as a judge sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for Medicaid fraud and tampering with evidence. “He would have enjoyed the fruits of his fraud for as long as he could have gotten away with it,” Volland said. Those fruits, according to the judge’s sentencing remarks, included spending the stolen Medicaid funds on gambling, women, drugs and vacations. The state said Ghosh enrolled the help of his office manager Nathaniel Carter, and he manipulated his employee — a felon with far less education than the doctor — to commit the crimes. 

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

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