A Brief Look at Crime 11/9 – 11/15

2 men killed, 2 others in critical after suspects rob illegal home dice game 

A game of dice turns deadly for two men in Indianapolis early Monday morning. Two men were killed and two others remain in critical condition after someone tried to rob the victims. Police found dice and money scattered throughout the home, leading investigators to believe someone shot the victims during a robbery. “Detectives found evidence there was illegal gambling going on, but this was not a known illegal gambling establishment. It was some friends that had gathered to participate in a game and during the game we believe a robbery occurred,” said IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams. Detectives do not think any of the four victims shot each other, instead at least one suspect and maybe more, came into the home and committed the killings.

 Knoxville denim business owner agrees to plead guilty in large scale gambling operation

The owner of Knoxville business Marc Nelson Denim has agreed to enter a guilty plea, according to recently filed court documents, after officials say he ran an illegal gambling operation and used his business to launder the profits. George Marcus Hall entered an agreement to plead guilty to charges of conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing and owning an illegal gambling operation; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. As part of the agreement, attorneys agreed not to further prosecute for any other offenses. The documents say Hall and co-defendants Clarance Lee McDowell and Maurece Damone McDowell owned and ran a daily numbers gambling operation from January 2009 to June 2015 that employed more than 20 people and made around $2,000 a day. The documents indicate around $20 million was laundered by Hall and his co-defendants.

 Pair charged with swindling retiree out of $3M, then living it up on the Strip

Hiep Cong Van and Thy Minh Phan spent the last year living like high rollers on the Strip until the law caught up with them. Van, 39, who is married and runs landscape companies in Colorado, and Phan, 36, who works as a manicurist at a nail salon in the state of Washington, were arrested in Las Vegas last week on conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges in a federal indictment returned in Portland. The indictment alleges the couple swindled a man identified only as “R.W.” out of his retirement savings, roughly $3 million, primarily under the guise of obtaining loans to bail out Van’s struggling landscaping business. R.W. is a former customer of Van’s who retired and moved to Oregon. “At one point, defendant Van acted as if his financial circumstances were so dire that he was contemplating suicide,” the indictment alleges. But instead of putting the money toward his business, Van and Phan spent roughly $2.5 million gambling in Las Vegas at Bellagio, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace and Aria, the indictment alleges.

Teenager with gambling debt took his own life after assaulting his dad

A 19-YEAR-old who assaulted his dad, before going missing, took his own life, an inquest heard. Andrew Nicholls was found dead by police officers on July 12 in his dad’s car at an orchard in Ryeford, near his home in The Lea, near Ross  on-Wye. There was a piece of paper on the windscreen which said, ‘Warning, carbon monoxide in the car’ and a post mortem report revealed he died from carbon monoxide poisoning. His father, Richard Nicholls, told the inquest he had been dozing on the sofa at his home, where he lived with his son, when a heavy object hit him around the head on the evening of July 10. Mr Nicholls said: “My initial reaction was it was a burglar.” He then realised his son had hit him around the head with a bottle. After Mr Nicholls died his father discovered his son had spent a lot of money on online gambling and was in thousands of pounds worth of debt. He said his son had not seemed depressed and was planning on going on holiday in a few months, but he said he did believe his son had taken his own life.

 Duncan Bannatyne’s firm has almost £8MILLION stolen by his finance chief

A crooked finance chief who stole almost £8m from Duncan Bannatyne has been jailed for four years and eight months. Gambling addict Christopher Watson, 46, used his position as trusted company secretary to plunder accounts of the former Dragons Den star’s fitness empire over six years. The dad-of-three nodded to his family as he was taken from the dock at Teesside crown court after admitting the fraud totalling £7,974,221 between 2008 and 2014. Mr Bannatyne, 66, who is set to appear in ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ on ITV, said in a statement: “I am absolutely shocked and appalled at the callous actions of Mr Watson.” He said Watson, who rose to the boardroom after joining the company as an accountant in 2007, opposed raising the minimum wage for staff, telling a him that the firm ‘could not afford it’. At the same time as he was plundering millions to help fund his huge gambling losses.

 A former Credit Union worker stole €1.7m from his branch to feed gambling habit 

A credit controller who stole almost €1.7m from Finglas Credit Union over a seven-year period by taking out bogus loans and stealing cheques has been jailed for three years. Paul O’Brien (aged 51) took out additional fraudulent loans in order to make repayments on the pre-existing ones. The money was used to fund his severe gambling addiction and on three occasions to pay either his mortgage or credit card bills. Garda Lisa Sheehan confirmed that the total amount taken from the credit union was €1,669, 696 in the form of 215 fraudulent loans and 13 stolen cheques. However, because he used some of the cash to make repayments on the loans, the total net loss to the credit union was €453,300. Gda Sheehan agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending that his client’s gambling problem had “brought him to a dark place in his life”.

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

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