Brief Look at Crime 10/04 – 10/11

Hastings lawyer charged with stealing $1.4 million from clients

A Hastings-on-Hudson attorney has been charged with stealing more than $1.4 million from clients in Westchester, just months after admitting to the same crime in the Bronx. He “took advantage of people who turned to him for his legal expertise and guidance only to become victims of his greed,” Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a statement. Lippman has a severe gambling problem. said his lawyer, Murray Richman. “It’s all a result of his addiction,” Richman said. “It’s ruined his life.” Lippman worked for many years as a lawyer in the office of the Public Administrator in the Bronx, which settles estates. A state investigation found that Lippman pocketed more than $1.5 million from those estates between 2005 to 2008.

10 People Wounded by Gunfire Inside Georgia Barroom 

Ten people were struck by gunshots when a gambling dispute boiled over into a barrage of gunfire inside a crowded barroom, but all of the victims are expected to survive, authorities in a small west Georgia town said Monday. The victims in the Sunday morning shooting included five females and five males ranging in age from 16 to 29, Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith said. They were shot in their arms, legs, feet and shoulders, and one was grazed in the head, he said. An argument over illegal gambling in a back part of the bar led to the hail of gunfire, the sheriff said. The argument “escalated with at least several suspects pulling handguns and firing multiple rounds within the confines of the building,” the sheriff said in a statement. “These indiscriminate shots resulted in multiple individuals being struck,” he said.

More than $1M seized in dismantling of money-laundering outfit

More than $1 million in cash and assets was seized in June, by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigation Unit, from a group that laundered money in multiple Texas counties. Seized assets included vehicles and high-end jewelry. According to the Cameron County DA’s Office, the multi-county money-laundering operation involved was dismantled by the unit. Various people were arrested, all connected to widespread illegal gambling in South Texas via the “8-liner” electronic gambling industry, which led to raids by Operation Bishop investigators.

Lincoln pharmacist pleads guilty to possibly state’s biggest Medicaid fraud 

A Lincoln pharmacist tearfully pleaded guilty Tuesday to health care fraud, admitting he bilked Nebraska’s Medicaid program of $14.4 million in what is believed to be the largest such fraud on record in the state. The 44-year-old who lives in Omaha will face eight to 10 years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in January, if the judge agrees to the deal hammered out by attorneys. Tran also agreed to a restitution amount of $14,430,059.17 and to forfeit his right to cash and property seized early in the investigation, meaning it would go toward restitution. Defense attorney Clarence Mock said Tran spent the overwhelming majority of the money he got by filing the false claims gambling at casinos in Council Bluffs, Iowa, not so he could lead a posh lifestyle. “All of Mr. Tran’s conduct stems from an inveterate gambling addiction that he just couldn’t control,” he said.

Four indicted in $1 million Bellagio craps scheme

For nearly two years, a pair of Bellagio craps dealers and two friends stole more than $1 million off the tables, prosecutors said Wednesday. The dealers, Mark M. Branco, 42, and James R. Cooper Jr., 43, along with Jeffrey D. Martin, 38, and Anthony G. Granito, 49, were indicted on dozens of counts of cheating at gambling and theft, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney J. P. Raman. They would focus on lower limits at tables with dealers who weren’t paying enough attention to the action. Granito and Martin would make some real bets, but mutter some sort of craps wager as the dice were tossed and Cooper or Branco would pay them “as if they had bet on it,” Raman said. But last year, a fellow dealer noticed suspicious behavior and informed Bellagio management and an investigation began.

Prosecutors: Socialite’s game room scheme netted nearly $6 million 

Six people, including a Houston socialite, were involved in a scheme that netted almost $6 million in illegal profits since 2013, prosecutors said Friday. Assistant Harris County District Attorney Lester Blizzard said at least three illegal gamerooms formed the base of a criminal enterprise that saw three top level suspects and three clerks arrested earlier this week on charges of money laundering. “It was an extreme amount of money,” Blizzard told state District Judge David Mendoza. He said investigators project that the gamerooms that house illegal slot machines, sometimes called 8-liners, made $5.8 million since 2013 when the investigation began. Katherine Le, a well-known jewelry designer in Houston’s social circles, and her husband, Hao Dinh Nguyen, 51, are two of the accused principals in the plot.

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