Brief Look at Crime 08/10 – 08/16

Perth bank manager who stole $515,000 jailed for four years 

A FORMER Westpac bank manager who stole $515,000 over four months to finance his gambling addiction has been jailed for more than four years. Darren Jason Arnold, 38, pleaded guilty to abusing his position at the Northbridge branch in Perth to steal money between December 2013 and March 2014. He only stopped when he was found by Westpac investigators with “his hand in the till” trying to take $85,000 from the bank’s treasury. The District Court of Western Australia heard on Friday that Arnold’s crime spree started when his wife wanted to buy a bigger house for their family. She was unaware of his gambling addiction and the $200,000 of unsecured loans he had in his name. The couple bought a $720,000 house, mortgaged for its full value, prompting Arnold to try to gamble his way out of financial difficulty.

Moka café shooting: Jason Hay wanted for first-degree murder 

York Regional Police issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for the man they allege shot two people to death and wounded two more inside Vaughan’s Moka café earlier this summer. Police say Jason Hay, 27, of Mississauga is wanted in connection with the slayings. Christopher de Simone, 24, a regular café patron, and Maria Voci, 47, who worked at the eatery, were killed when a gunman opened fire on the morning of June 24. Two other people were injured in the shooting. York police have said the shooting appears to be targeted, but have not said who the target was. The police investigation also revealed an illegal gambling operation was being run out of the back of the café.

2 Sentenced for Running Muli-Million Dollar International Sports Betting Ring

Two brothers who ran an international sports betting ring have been sentenced in California to federal prison. A judge in San Diego sentenced Jan Portocarrero to 18 months on Friday. Erik Portocarrero was given 22 months. They also were fined $50,000. The two pleaded guilty to racketeering. Prosecutors say the brothers ran an Internet and telephone gambling enterprise called “Macho Sports” for more than a decade from a headquarters in Lima, Peru. Authorities say the company took millions of dollars in bets from customers throughout California, strong-armed debtors and laundered proceeds. An FBI investigation began in 2011 and led to 18 arrests in Los Angeles, San Diego and Norway, where Erik Portocarrero lived at the time. All 18 have now pleaded guilty. Nearly $12 million in assets were seized.

Identity thieves target Walmart customers

“To cash a check at Walmart, it is all based on your Social Security number. You sign up with Walmart to get the check cashing privileges,” said Anderchak. And once you sign up, all you have to do to cash a check is enter your Social Security number. The MacVitties would travel to Walmarts in city after city and wait for people to approach the customer service desk area to cash a check. “Typically, Jennifer would stand a short distance behind the victim, on an angle, and use her smartphone to zoom in and videotape the entry of the Social Security number,” said Anderchak. This is called “shoulder surfing.” In a 12-15 month span, the team stole more than 900 Social Security numbers. “He would enter the victim’s Social Security number. He would cash a counterfeit check,” said Anderchak. Walmart investigators worked with postal inspectors to track down the MacVitties. They were caught in Las Vegas where they had gambled away most of the money they’d taken.

Broker Who Stole $4.4M From His Mother, Alzheimer’s Patient Banned By SEC

A Redlands, Calif., investment broker has admitted to stealing from funds controlled by his elderly mother and an Alzheimer’s patient to help friends buy luxury goods and pay off gambling debts, according to the SEC. John T. Thornes, the former owner of Redlands-based Thornes & Associates, has been barred from associating with financial professionals as part of an administrative order from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that imposes remedial sanctions in the case. Thornes allegedly misappropriated approximately $4.4 million from two brokerage accounts: The Schultz Trust account, on which he was the trustee, and the Harbison Scholarship Trust account, on which he was the investment advisor to the trustee and his mother, Doreen Thornes.

Parents covered windows to hide kids in hot car to gamble

A Meridian couple is charged with Felony Child Abuse after Gulfport police say they left their children in a hot car while they went gambling. Saturday afternoon, James Terrell Dunn parked his car in the Island View Casino parking lot and, according to police, told a security guard his windows were covered in order to protect the interior of his car from the sun. What he didn’t say was that his two kids were also inside. About an hour later, the casino’s security guard took a closer look at the car and noticed a 9-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy had been left behind. The engine was off and the windows were secured. The officer also noted that the temperature at that time was 95 degrees with a heat index of 109 degrees. The children were taken into custody by the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Officials said they were sweaty, but fine. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

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

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