Brief Look at Crime 11/23 – 12/06

Brooklyn Eyeglass Merchant and 2 Others Are Charged in $3.4 Million Loan Fraud 

The owner of two Brooklyn eyeglass stores applied for and received more than $3.4 million in fraudulent loans, then spent much of the money shopping for his girlfriend at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, paying rent on a Manhattan condominium and financing trips to Atlantic City casinos, prosecutors said on Wednesday. The charges against the merchant, Maksim Grinberg, who operates D&M Optical and 9th Street Vision out of the same building at Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, were laid out in a 148-count indictment filed by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and unsealed in State Supreme Court.

Gambler accused of ripping off $200K from Rebels member

A GAMBLER is accused of ripping off a Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang member of $200,000 after the men shared jail time. Surveyor Justin Sheehan, 39, was arrested at his Calliope home by Gladstone police yesterday and charged with three counts of fraud. “His partner tells us he has an out of control gambling addiction and documents show he continues to gamble despite being unemployed,” Sgt Stevens said. Sgt Stevens said Sheehan may fail to appear and was likely to continue offending to support his gambling. “While no threats have been made against him, police are aware of links to the motorcycle gang which has a previous propensity toward violence,” Sgt Stevens said.

Ex-sheriff’s dept. worker accused of embezzlement 

A former Berrien County Sheriff’s Department employee has been charged after allegedly embezzling some $75,000 from the agency. JoAnn Roberts was charged Tuesday with embezzlement between $50,000 and $100,000. If convicted, the 66-year-old from Buchanan faces up to 15 years in prison. She resigned from her position with the sheriff’s department in November. Roberts had been a jail population manager with the sheriff’s department since 1998, according to a release from the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office. In recent years, part of her job was to get money collected from people using electronic tethers ready for deposit with the county treasurer. Authorities say they think she stole more than $75,000 from the department. Much of the money, they say, appears to have been gambled away.

Bookkeeper who stole almost $700G gets state prison 

A former bookkeeper for a Collingdale welding business was sentenced to three to six years in a state correctional facility Tuesday for stealing approximately $696,000 to feed his gambling addiction. “This all happened because of gambling,” said Jeffrey McElwee, 54, of the 500 block of Corinthian Avenue in Essington. “When Harrah’s Casino opened up in Chester, I got started gambling and it seemed like overnight I became a gambling addict and it completely changed my personality.” McElwee issued 399 checks to himself in that 13-year period totaling $574,447.19, according to investigators. He also made 257 unauthorized ATM withdrawals totaling $122,184.50 between May 2011 and January 2015.

Jury selected in case of company treasurer who embezzled almost $800K.

Jurors were selected Monday in the trial of a Lakeland woman accused of stealing more than $770,000 from an air conditioning company. Judy Hulcher, 58, faces one count of grand theft of more than $100,000 and four counts of money laundering of more than $20,000 from Payne Air Conditioning & Heating in Lakeland, where she had worked for nearly 15 years. She was arrested in mid December 2013 and released from the Polk County Jail on $65,000 bail on Jan. 18, 2014. Toward told Ojeda in July that Hulcher never did anything to conceal the money or hide it. Instead she used much of the money to purchase Florida Lottery tickets to satiate a gambling addiction, Toward said after the hearing. Ojeda denied Toward’s motion.

Gambling Darling Paysafe Confirms 7.8 Million Customers Hit In Epic Old Hacks

Earlier this month, FORBES revealed two databases had been leaked from major gambling payment providers Neteller and Moneybookers (now called Skrill), affecting 4.5 million and 3.6 million customers respectively. Personal information — including answers to secret password recovery questions, addresses, telephone numbers and birth dates — were found in the databases. Unaware that hackers had made off with so much data, the owner of both Neteller and Moneybookers, Optimal Payments (now called Paysafe Group), kicked off a fresh investigation. Today, the newly-branded Paysafe Group confirmed in a London Stock Exchange announcement those figures were a little higher than the reality, saying information related to 3.6 million Neteller accounts and 4.2 million Skrill users were leaked. Both related to 2009 and 2010 attacks previously detailed by FORBES. The Neteller attack involved an exploit of a vulnerability in the Joomla content management system, whilst the Moneybookers breach saw a virtual private network (VPN), designed to provide secure access to the firm’s network, hacked and a transaction database accessed.

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