A gambler riding a hot streak was lured from Casino San Pablo by two women who led him to a hardscrabble Richmond street where he was fatally shot during a botched robbery attempt, a prosecutor told a Contra Costa jury Wednesday. “It was a brutal slaying of an unsuspecting victim,” Deputy District Attorney Chad Mahalich said during opening statements in the murder trial of three Richmond residents. Kevin Vilayngeun, 34, who allegedly shot Rodell Sarmiento, 43, on May 4, 2013, is charged with murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted second-degree robbery and shooting at an occupied vehicle, plus enhancements. Brittany Bernard, 26, who had a child with Vilayngeun, and Boonsy Manivan, 32, Vilayngeun’s cousin, are both charged with murder, conspiracy and attempted second-degree robbery.
Pennsylvania State Police and the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement served search warrants to 39 liquor licensed establishments in Westmoreland and Fayette counties for illegal video gambling. This was part of a nine-month investigation by the Gambling and Audit Unit. During the operation, officers seized a total of 178 video gambling devices and $389,214. Police say all the machines seized have been determined to be illegally designed and operated even in jurisdictions and venues where video gambling is permitted by statute and license.
A federal jury says Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino sexually harassed a cocktail waitress by rescinding a lifetime ban against a high-roller accused of sexually harassing her. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the jury awarded Allyson Pelesky $150,000 after Wednesday’s verdict. The jury will hear more evidence Thursday on whether she deserves punitive damages, too. Pelesky says the high-roller put a $1 chip into her bra and touched her breast while she was working in April 2014. State police investigated, but Pelesky agreed not to press sexual assault charges after the casino banned the player. But 40 days later, the casino rescinded the ban and, since then, Pelesky says she’s been ridiculed by other workers.
A man admitted Thursday that he brought millions of dollars in counterfeit poker chips to use in a casino’s poker tournament, a scheme that was uncovered when he clogged a pipe by flushing the chips down the toilet in his hotel room. Christian Lusardi, 43, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to trademark counterfeiting and criminal mischief. Under terms of a plea agreement, Lusardi will be sentenced to five years in prison. Lusardi will be required to pay the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa $463,540 for the revenue it lost when it canceled the 2014 tournament after discovering the fake chips. He also owes Harrah’s Casino Hotel $9,455 for damaging the pipes.
Christopher Venti spent 10 years cheating investors, and not one of his schemes ever made money. The Hamburg man admitted this week to enticing investors with false promises of high-yield returns and then pocketing much of the money they gave him. All told, Venti’s clients, many of them large institutional investors, lost more than $7 million. Venti also admitted withdrawing $148,000 in investor funds while at three local casinos. Those recordings, according to court papers, indicate Venti told the undercover employee that he could earn four times his initial investment without any risk. That type of promise, according to investigators, should serve as a reminder that investments that sound too good to be true, often are.
A WOMAN stole almost a quarter of a million pounds from a social enterprise that offered jobs to people with mental health problems — spending thousands of it on internet bingo sites. Rachael Brown, of Oak Corner, Beare Green, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud totalling £243,550 during a hearing at Guildford Crown Court on Monday. She has been warned she is facing jail. The 42-year-old used a credit and debit card in the name of the now-defunct Dorking firm Netherne Printing Solutions to gamble on the Gala and Mecca bingo sites, the court heard. Judge Neil Stewart said Brown had committed a “crime of a very serious nature, including [taking] a large sum of money and in a position of trust”. Describing itself as a “social firm trading specifically to create jobs for disabled people”, Netherne provided employment for people with learning difficulties and mental health issues.
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