Brief Look at Crime 08/31 – 09/06

Charges of theft, money laundering in casino scheme filed against New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran 

On Friday, Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran was charged with embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations by New Mexico’s Democratic attorney general. The 64-count complaint was filed against Duran, one of the state’s highest ranking Republicans, late Friday in a Santa Fe state district court by Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. A confidential tip received in July of last year accusing Duran of misappropriation of campaign contributions led to the attorney general’s investigation of the secretary of state. The complaint centers on large deposits of cash and campaign contributions into both personal and campaign accounts controlled by Duran; those monetary movements often leading to spending at casinos throughout the state, according to the complaint. Subpoenas were obtained by investigators for Duran’s cash withdrawals from multiple casinos; electronic debits totaling more than $282,000 in 2014 and $147,641 in 2013 were withdrawn.

As recent cases show, gambling addiction drives white-collar crime 

As recent cases show, gambling addiction drives white-collar crime. Oklahoma has one of the highest gambling-related embezzlement rates in the nation. “Money is the drug,” said Wiley Harwell, the executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling. “If they have money, they’ll gamble.” A typical treatment plan will include three to six months with absolutely no direct contact with cash or credit of any kind, Harwell said. Not even change for a parking meter. Oklahoma has one of the highest gambling-related embezzlement rates in the country, with only California and New York seeing a higher number of reported cases in 2013, the most recent year with available statistics, according to the national Marquet Report on Embezzlement, published by a security consulting firm. Most cases, of course, never make the front page, or even the back page, since the alleged perpetrators aren’t public figures. In fact, prosecutors suspect that the vast majority of cases go entirely unreported, with employers simply firing the culprits instead of bringing charges. So nobody really knows the full extent of the problem.

Oswego County couple convicted of stealing over $200,000 from elderly retired Air Force vet 

An Oswego County couple face up to 20 years in prison after they were convicted on all counts Tuesday of stealing more than $200,000 from the first female full colonel in U.S. military history. Morgan Tetro and David Tetro Jr., both of Minetto, were convicted in Oswego County Court of stealing the money from 85-year-old Irene Dennison state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced. Irene Dennison served in the U.S. Air Force from 1958 to 1982. She was pivotal in rescuing U.S. Senator John McCain in 1973, when the senator was a prisoner of war being held by the North Vietnamese Army, Schneiderman announced. At one point in her nearly 25-year career, Dennison oversaw more than 3,000 troops in Germany.They lost more than $140,000 of the stolen money gambling at Turning Stone Casino. The rest of the stolen money paid for alcohol, eBay and PayPal purchases, Victoria’s Secret purchases, hairpieces for David Tetro Jr. and other expenses.

Couple arrested for embezzling, stealing more than $600,000 from Fresno bank

A couple was arrested Wednesday for allegedly running an embezzlement scheme that defrauded a Bank of America in Fresno of more than $600,000, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said. Sylvia Ochoa, 33, of Orange Cove, was the branch manager at the Bank of America on East Tulare Street. Court documents say that between March 2013 and October 2013, Ochoa and Shanne Leavell, 23, also of Orange Cove, conspired to defraud the bank. Ochoa prevented other bank employees from counting the cash in the vault, contrary to the bank’s policy. Ochoa and Leavell spent the money on a truck, gambling at casinos and buying expensive handbags.

Illinois’ Biggest Casino Hit With $2 Million Fine

Illinois’ biggest and most popular casino has been hit with a $2 million fine, and two of its officers have been ordered suspended, after a complaint from the Illinois Gaming Board lambasted the casino’s parent company for failure to follow internal procedures in hiring a security and maintenance vendor, and for lax control over gaming promotions. But the Gaming Board came down hard on Rivers, not only for the United contract, but also for numerous infractions regarding promotions. Describing their findings on United, Gaming Board investigators said they found that Rivers had hired the company for security and cleaning services, without going through proper bidding and other procedures. In one case, they found that a contract had been back dated, and that a due-diligence report was actually performed more than a year after the company had already been hired.

Conman who stole £800k from pensioners can only repay £500

A DELAWARE COUNTY bookkeeper got so comfortable stealing from his employer that he made 257 unauthorized ATM withdrawals totaling $122,184 from May 2011 to this January – and that wasn’t even half of what he allegedly stole. In all, Jeffrey McElwee, 53, of Essington, stole $696,631.69 from Power Source Repair in Collingdale dating back to when he was hired in 2002McElwee’s motive, according to detectives who made the bust, was to afford his gambling habit at local casinos, said Emily Harris, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office. Bank statements from Jenzano’s Wells Fargo line of credit account revealed that McElwee withdrew $122,184.50 from ATMs from 2011 to 2015, with close to half of the withdrawals made at the same PNC Bank ATM at an Essington Wawa located near the defendant’s home, the D.A.’s Office said.

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

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