Monthly Archives: January 2016

Recent Negative Rulings Force Daily Fantasy Sports Companies to Massively Increase Lobbying Efforts

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing criticism and identification of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) as the newest wave of sports gambling. Various states have been investigating DraftKings and FanDuel to determine if they are offering online gambling. Even the FBI and US Attorney General have been investigating. The DFS has tried to take a proactive approach. Recentlythe DFS industry called for government regulations and offered problem gambling safeguards. The industry believes if they can get it regulated, then that will prevent an outright ban, given online sports betting is illegal in almost all jurisdictions outside of Las Vegas. Unfortunately for DFS, more and more states are ruling that they are illegal. Now, they are aggressively changing their strategy and attempting to lobby for each state to exempt DFS from gambling laws so they can stay in business. USA Today reports:

Fighting for its life from coast to coast, the daily fantasy sports industry has dramatically changed its survival strategy since last year.

The industry now has about 75 lobbyists in more than 30 states, up from two lobbyists in two states last February, said Jeremy Kudon, an attorney for the industry. The goal is simple: If existing state laws indicate that your business might be illegal, then hire some professionals to help change those laws.

“This is a battle that’s going to be won in 50 states,” said Paul Charchian, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which advocates for the industry. “It’s going to be 50 small battles, not one big battle.” 

Its unclear how successful this strategy will be for DFS. They have started lobbying at the Federal level as well, but that could still leave individual states with the ability to clarify that the activity is illegal gambling. In their efforts at both levels, they believe they can prove that their games are games of skill not chance, but the skill level diminishes severely when new teams are drafted each day and not carried out through an entire sports season. Typically however, when a company puts forth enough lobbyist and lobbying dollars, change happens in those companies favor. But as the USA Today article explains, they have lobbied various states in the past to no avail:

The argument over daily fantasy’s legality hinges upon whether it’s considered a game of skill or a game of chance. Generally speaking, games that involve chance are usually considered gambling. But states hold different standards for how much chance is needed for a game to be illegal gambling.

While the industry started lobbying the federal government this year, it can exert more policy influence at the state level, said Marc Edelman, an associate professor of law at Baruch College, who consults in fantasy sports law. If federal lawmakers explicitly decriminalized daily fantasy, state governments could still impose stricter rules, he said.

Attorneys general in New York, Illinois and most recently Texas have argued that paid daily fantasy contests are illegal gambling under state law. Disclosures show the industry lobbied last year not only in those states but also others that could become legal battlegrounds.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/18 – 01/24

Three dead and 15 injured as Chinese ‘would-be suicide driver’ crashes vehicle

Three people died and 15 others were injured after a high-speed vehicle crashed into a group of people outside a high school in Yichun, in Jiangxi province on Tuesday morning. Photo: China Central Television Three Chinese people were killed and 15 others injured on Tuesday morning after a vehicle, reportedly driven by a man trying to commit suicide over gambling debts, crashed at high speed into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists outside a school, mainland media reports. Most of the dead and injured following the incident at 7.15am in Fengxincounty, in Yichun city, Jiangxi province, were students at the county’s largest high school, China Central Television reported. The residents told the newspaper the man had lost his money while gambling and claimed he tried to commit suicide and had chosen to take revenge on innocent people.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic says his camp was offered $200G to throw 2007 match

Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked player in men’s tennis, said Monday that a member of his support team was offered $200,000 to have Djokovic throw a match at a 2007 tournament in Russia. Djokovic described the approach after the BBC and Buzzfeed News published reports that tennis authorities have suppressed evidence ofmatch-fixing and overlooked suspected cases involving players ranked in the top 50, including Grand Slam singles and doubles winners. The reports said that none of these players had faced sanctions and more than half would be playing at this year’s Australian Open, which started Monday. The players weren’t identified by name.”I was not approached directly. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time,” Djokovic said of the 2007 incident. “Of course, we (rejected) it right away. It didn’t even get to me — the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.” Many of those punished have been lower-ranked players on the second-tier Challenger tour. Two of the most higher-profile players — former top-50 players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace — were initially banned for life before their suspensions were lifted by the Italian Tennis Federation last year.

Crooked accountant gambled away £850,000 of firms’ cash

AN ACCOUNTANT gambled away more than £850,000 from the company where he was paid to looked after the finances. A court heard Matthew Stevens, 30, abused the trust placed in him by his boss who “treated him like a son” after he took him on as a school leaver and trained him to be a book keeper. “You knew the intimate workings of this business and you must have known the impact of bleeding those bank accounts dry.” Stevens plundered the firm’s accounts over a 13-month period to fund his addiction to online gambling. Leeds Crown Court heard Stevens became a key customer of bookies Betfred during his offending. Stevens plundered £850,000 from the two businesses over a 13 month period before the offending came to light. The sum was lost as a result of Stevens’s addiction to online gambling.

Five SCV men charged in New York in illegal gambling ring 

Five Santa Clarita Valley men accused of running an illegal $32 million nationwide sports betting ring with a dozen other people have been formally charged in Queens County, New York, a spokesman for the he Queens County District Attorney’s Office said this week. According to the grand jury indictment, the online gambling enterprise, which is alleged to have booked more than $32 million in bets annually, is also accused of laundering its criminal proceeds by depositing and withdrawing large sums of cash from various banks throughout the United States. The five local men were among 17 suspects across the country indicted Oct. 28 by a Queens County grand jury on charges of unlawfully operating a highly sophisticated sports gambling enterprise that stretched from New York to California and used offshore-based gambling websites. 

Accountant charged in $1M embezzlement case 

A local accountant is charged with 953 criminal counts accusing her of embezzling more than $1 million from at least one client’s account over a five-year period, according to criminal complaints filed by the West Virginia State Police. Kimberly Dawn Price, 57, of Huntington, was arraigned Friday on 302 counts of embezzlement, 326 counts of forgery, and 325 counts of uttering at Cabell Count Magistrate Court. Investigators allege Price forged her client’s signature to write numerous checks to herself, wired money transfers, and opened a credit card account between October 2010 and September 2015. The embezzled money was then reportedly spread out over several bank accounts, including those of her son and boyfriend, according to criminal complaints. In the criminal complaint, troopers say they were provided a statement saying Price had “paid off (a) vehicle, went on trips, helped her son start a business, paid off her (son’s) student loans, supported her boyfriend, and supported her gambling habit.”

Robber gets 15 years in $3 million heist but ‘the money is gone’ 

A South Florida man who admits he was one of three robbers who split $3 million from an “inside job” says he’s very sorry for his crime but he’s done all he can to help the feds find the missing loot. Darryl Peterkine, 39, was sentenced Friday to 15 years and eight months in federal prison for his role in a dramatic heist at the old Garda Logistics armored truck building in Riviera Beach on Sept. 15, 2012. Federal authorities say they have only managed to trace how a small amount of the cash was spent. The men said they bought used cars, purchased a $162,000 home in West Palm Beach, and blew some of it on furniture, gambling, clothes and helping out their associates. Most of the money is just gone.

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

No Casinos Group Plans Diverse Strategy for Preventing Expanded Gambling in Florida and Urges Citizen Call to Action

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing negotiations between the Florida governor and the Seminole Tribe regarding the gambling compact they have with the state.  After a lengthy negation process, the first step was been satisfied when the two sides agreed to a new compact that will now need approval from the Florida Legislature.  The criticism from this new compact is that it expands gambling in many ways that the public just simply doesn’t seem to support. Preventing harmful gambling expansion in Florida has been the focus of No Casinos, a group that is working to help provide the voice of the decent in the gambling expansion debate.  No Casinos President, John Sowinski, recently addressed the approach the group is taking to help protect Florida families.  Florida Politics online explains: 

John Sowinski, president of the Orlando-based No Casinos, told reporters he plans a legislative, legal and constitutional charge against measures tucked into the renegotiated Seminole Compact.

First, he plans to oppose the compact at the Wednesday hearing. His organization also plans to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a *case before the state Supreme Court over whether certain Florida dog and horse tracks can offer slot machines. … Sowinski called the pending Supreme Court case “huge” because of the amount of new slots it could potentially allow. “It could be a paradigm shift for Florida,” he said. “Every pari-mutuel could wind up having slot machines. That’s not what we want.” …And the “Voters in Charge” citizen initiative committee, which Sowinski chairs, is gathering signatures to get on the 2018 ballot with an amendment that would give voters more control over gambling.

No Casinos urges citizens to sign the petitions where possible.  Voters in Charge’s contact information, and additional information regarding the initiative can be found HERE.  Additionally, you can follow No Casinos on their WEBSITE and use THIS link to access their Facebook and Twitter Accounts for up to the date information.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/11 – 01/17

Pharmacist who committed $14.4 million Medicaid fraud in Nebraska receives 9-year prison sentence

A federal judge gave a prison sentence of nine years and two months Wednesday to a pharmacist who orchestrated the largest Medicaid fraud on record in Nebraska. Scott T. Tran, 45, of Omaha, stole $14.4 million from the government  program during a six-year period starting in 2009. Most of the money was spent playing blackjack in Council Bluffs’ casinos, according to an FBI investigation. Tran pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of health care fraud. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss 17 additional charges against him. Clarence Mock, Tran’s attorney, has said his client suffered from a gambling addiction he was able to hide from his family. In 2011, regulators with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services questioned Tran’s Medicaid reimbursements, which exceeded $4 million. But they did not conduct follow-up interviews with patients or doctors, which allowed Tran to continue his fraud for nearly four more years at a cost of about $10 million.

Former VA employee pleads guilty to embezzling money he spent on sex, gambling

A former Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs employee pleaded guilty to embezzling $280,000, which he says he spent on sex and gambling court records show. Glenn Alan Bates, 58, of Saline signed a plea agreement in Decemberadmitting guilt to a federal felony charge of embezzling more than $1,000 from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, 2215 Fuller Road. Court records show he stole cash from the sales of commemorative  military hats, vending machines and other retail sales between May 2006 and March 2013 while he was employed as the manager of the canteen at the VA. Bates told federal investigators he spent the money gambling in casinos in Indianapolis and Battle Creek, on $500 lap dances and sex with strippers and prostitutes in Columbus, Ohio. Court records show Bates could face 24 to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and order him to pay $250,000 in fines and $314,000 in restitution, according to sentencing guidelines outlined in the court records.

11 Arrested in Italy Over Illegal Mafia-Linked Online Gambling Ring

Italian police arrested 11 people on Wednesday for allegedly running an illegal online gaming business which garnered millions of euros in bets every day, sometimes in collusion with the mafia, a top prosecutor in Rome said. Luigi Tancredi, accused of heading the ring, installed poker screens in bars and gambling rooms run by Italian mafias, prosecutor Michele Prestipino said. Tancredi was arrested on suspicion of running an international criminal group that favors the mafia. Gambling in Italy has been gradually legalized over the past two decades, in part to curb organized crime’s grip on it, but this has actually created new opportunities for the mob, investigators say. Known as the “king of slots,” Tancredi had worked extensively in Italy’s legal gambling business in the past and had come under scrutiny in previous probes by courts in central and northern Italy, investigators said.

Man sentenced in $1.9M theft from Madisonville company

A man who admitted stealing $1.9 million from a division of a Madisonville electrical connector manufacturer has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison. Prosecutors said Outlaw, 46, of Moore, South Carolina, impersonated a vendor of FTZ Industries, opening a bank account in that vendor’s name. He submitted fake invoices for payment for parts the company never received. Outlaw would direct FTZ Industries to send payments to a mailbox he opened in Georgia in the name of the vendor, prosecutors said. Outlaw embezzled the money between 2005 and 2012, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty last year to a federal mail fraud charge. In a letter to Judge Michael Barrett, Outlaw said alcohol, gambling and stock trading took over his life. “I allowed this greed to consume my life and to make decisions that I knew were wrong,” he wrote. “My drinking increased. My gambling increased. I started gambling on the stock market.”

Ex-LA detective pleads guilty to bank robbery 

A retired Los Angeles police detective with a gambling habit has pleaded guilty to robbing an Orange County bank. City News Service says 70-year-old Randolph Adair of Rancho Santa Margarita entered the plea Friday. Prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 9 ½ years in federal prison. Authorities suspected Adair of being the so-called “Snowbird Bandit” — named for his age and white hair. They charged him with robbing five Orange County banks since March. Adair acknowledged robbing a First Citizens Bank branch in Rancho Santa Margarita in May, getting away with about $1,200. He also acknowledged using a gun in the holdup. The FBI says Adair was a heavy gambler.

Abington Lawyer Stole Hundreds Of Thousands From Clients

A former lawyer from Abington pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients to cover gambling debts from Atlantic City casinos, according to a report. Lawrence J. Roberts, 67, previously operated a law firm in Abington and had practiced law for 40 years before his disbarment after charges were pressed last May, according to The Intelligencer. Roberts allegedly took funds from one client’s account and placed it inanother, or, essentially, “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” the report states. His clients were largely in real estate, according to the report. Roberts sent checks up to $1.2 million to six different Atlantic City casinos between October 2009 to March 2014. He faces 20 to 40 years in prison on two felony charges of theft and two charges of forgery, the report states.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/04 – 01/10

No bond for two men in murder case 

Demicky Rogers and Kenzell Walker had their first appearances Wednesday morning in connection to the murder of 55-year-old Barry Kerper, and they were denied bond. Rogers is charged with armed robbery, and Walker is charged with murder and armed robber with a fire arm. The 21-year-old Rogers and 22-year-old Walker were arrested Tuesday in connection to the murder Kerper. 22-year-old Carl Randle, who is also being charged with armed robbery in the murder of Kerper, was already in jail on unrelated charges. In November of 2015, Kerper was shot through the glass door of his business on Palmyra Road shortly before 12:30 in the morning by a man police say Kerper had refused to let inside. Prosecutors said Kerper was operating illegal gambling machines.

New Jersey mob leader, 2 sons get prison for gambling ring

Three members of the Lucchese crime family in New Jersey have been sentenced to state prison after pleading guilty to running an international gambling enterprise. Sixty-nine-year-old Ralph Perna, of East Hanover, was sentenced to eight years in prison and his two sons, John and Joseph, were sentenced to 10 years. Authorities say Ralph Perna had led the mob family’s New Jersey operations. The father and sons were among six mob Lucchese crime family members who pleaded guilty for their role in the ring in October. The defendants were arrested in 2007 after investigators targeted an international criminal gambling enterprise that they say handled billions of dollars in wagers, primarily on sporting events. Charges are still pending against 20 of the 34 people originally indicted in the case.

 State agency raids several Moose Lodges for gambling

Six different Moose lodges targeted. Two in cape coral, one in Labelle, one in Port Charlotte and two in South Fort Myers. The organizations are service-oriented social clubs that serve food and alcohol. Investigators confiscated thousands of dollars and arrested several people, with more arrests pending. The Moose Lodge website says its an organization dedicated to helping others, celebrating life and having fun, but some of that fun may have been illegal! Sometime recently, the division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco conducted routine investigations of Moose Lodges when they discovered six different chapters were in “the act of keeping a gambling house.” ABT issued warnings to each lodge, but those warnings were apparently ignored. ABT investigators seized $39,428 in cash, 49 gambling machines, five poker tables and arrested four people Eight more arrests are pending.

 Woman who stole $123K from Lancaster Republican Club to pay gambling debts gets house arrest 

A 66-year-old Millersville woman was recently sentenced to house arrest and probation for stealing $123,000 from 7th Ward Republican Club in Lancaster. Linda J. Seibert will spend the next nine months on house arrest followed by three years on probation for stealing the money from the 7th Ward Republican Club between January 2012 and December 2014, according to a news release from the Lancaster County District attorney’s office. Officials said Seibert, a former treasurer of the club, admitted to using the money to support her gambling addiction. Wright also banned Seibert from gambling locations and places that host games of chance, according to the release. Seibert pleaded guilty to felony theft by unlawful taking in October.  Most of the funds Seibert stole had been designated for donation to charities and non-profits, according to the news release. Prosecutors said Seibert was ordered to pay back all of the money, $10,000 of which she paid back on Monday.


Man Went to Hard Rock Casino, Left Child Alone: Police

A man accused of leaving his 3-year-old son alone in his hotel room while he hung out with friends at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood was arrested for child neglect, authorities said. Gatchary Forth, 28, was arrested Sunday on a charge of child neglect without great bodily harm, Seminole Police Department officials said. Gatchary Forth, 28, was arrested Sunday on a charge of child neglect without great bodily harm, Seminole Police Department officials said. Forth was being held on $5,000 bond Monday and it’s unknown if he’s hired an attorney. Officials said officers responded after the boy was found alone in a corridor on the hotel’s third floor by a guest who brought the child to security. Forth allegedly left the boy alone in the room and went to the casino floor with friends, officials said. Video showed the boy walking out of the room minutes after Forth left, officials said.

Man Accused in Multi-Million Dollar Gambling Ring Turns Himself In 

A Valencia man turned himself in to the New York Police Department after fleeing charges in a multi-million dollar online gambling operation. Andres Arriaga, 41, was able to escape arrest after an indictment on Oct. 28, 2015, in which 17 other people, including five Santa Clarita Valley residents, were accused of running an online gambling operation worth over $30 million. Officers descended on the 17 suspect’s homes, including Arriaga’sresidence in Valencia. However, Arriaga was not at the home when the raid occurred. Most of the suspects were arrested within 24 hours of the incident. Arriaga turned himself in to authorities in December, said Hernandez Ricardo, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers from several police agencies worked together for the operation, including organized crime detectives with the New York and Los Angeles Police Departments. The supposed leader of the gambling ring, Cyrus Irani, was placed in custody in New York after waiving his right to an extradition hearing last month, according to LAPD officials. 

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

No Casinos Group Points Out Problems & Bias of Chamber Poll Regarding Seminole Gambling Compact

Casino Watch Focus has reported that Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Seminole tribal authorities come to a new $3 billion gambling deal late last month.  The deal still needs to be debated in the Florida legislature and there are those believe it’s a bad deal for Florida due to the gambling expansion in represents.  In an effort to start swaying the elected leaders that must vote to approve the compact, the Florida Chamber, whose members include the Seminole, Tribe, released the results of a statewide poll regarding citizen’s approval of the compact.  As the Tampa Bay times, the poll seemed to indicate it was clear people didn’t really even understand what was included in the Seminole Compact: 

The chamber won’t tell us if it’s a poll for hire but the press release accompanying the poll emphasized the fact that those who know about the compact support it. One thing is certain: most people know nothing about the gaming compact. At least 51 percent didn’t know if the tribe had kept its agreement “to provide a minimum of $1 billion over five years in revenue to the state” and 63 percent knew nothing about the 20-year deal Scott just signed with the tribe, according to the poll by Public Opinion Strategies.

This was only one of the problems with the poll.  A closer examination was had by John Sowinski, the President of No Casinos, and several glaring issues were brought to light.  Florida Politics online explains:

No Casinos President *John Sowinski* said that “missing from the survey was any hint of how the (Seminole) Compact allows for the massive expansion of gambling throughout Florida — beyond tribal property, including new nontribal casinos in Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County.”

“The poll did not ask voters how they felt about expansions of gambling that the compact would allow throughout Florida, including introduction of slot machines outside of tribal properties,” Sowinski wrote in an email. “But what the poll did find is that 72 percent of Floridians don’t want gambling expanded, which is exactly what the proposed compact does.”

He also questioned the bias of the pollster, Public Opinion Strategies, saying that company also “is the pollster of record for the Seminole Tribe of Florida,” citing “multiple media reports.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 12/28 – 01/03

Ex-JPMorgan Personal Bankers Accused of Theft From the Dead

Bank fraud can follow you to the grave. That’s what prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, said in the case of two men who worked as personal bankers at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and are accused of stealing $400,000 from inactive bank accounts. At least eight account holders were dead. Jonathan Francis, 27, and Dion Allison, 30, were charged with crimes including conspiracy and second-degree grand larceny. The men and their conspirators made more than 350 ATM withdrawals from about 15 accounts, according to an indictment unsealed this month. The men targeted accounts with no activity but regular Social Security direct deposits, according to prosecutors. They created ATM cards for the accounts and withdrew money, prosecutors said. The charges follow two other cases this year involving allegations of theft by former employees at the bank. Last month, former JPMorgan Chase broker Michael Oppenheim admitted he stole more than $22 million from accounts of wealthy customers. Oppenheim pleaded guilty Nov. 5 in Manhattan federal court to securities fraud and embezzlement. He admitted to using the money to gamble on sporting events, pay his bills and trade stocks online.

Wife of mayor-elect faces 50-count indictment

An effort to feed an out-of-control gambling habit is what prosecutors allege led Bridget Kuhn, wife of mayor-elect Brian Kuhn, to embezzle more than $350,000 from two local nonprofit organizations and her former family’s business. Bridget Kuhn, 47, of Lancaster, is facing a 50-count indictment on charges including money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Investigators allege that over the past few years, Bridget Kuhn has stolen more than $350,000 from the American Legion Post 11, the Cameo League, and her former employer, Frazier Electric. They declined to comment on whether Brian Kuhn is involved or under investigation.”(Bridget Kuhn) has a serious gambling addiction,” said Special Prosecutor William L. Archer Jr., a Hocking County assistant prosecutor who was called in to lead the investigation to avoid a possible conflict of interest if Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx had stayed on the case. Bridget Kuhn is alleged to have gone to Ohio and Nevada casinos hundreds of times over the past three years.

Police: Couple left 3 young kids in cold SUV to hit casino

Police say a New Jersey couple left three young children in a cold SUV for nearly two hours while they were inside a Pennsylvania casino. The Bucks County Courier Times  reports police were called to the Parx Casino parking lot in Bensalem on Saturday for a report of three children — ages 8, 3 and 1 — inside a vehicle. Temperatures were hovering near freezing at the time. Court records show 39-year-old Jarrett Evan Nelson  and 30-year-old Ebony Walker  both of Newark, face charges including endangering the welfare of children. Surveillance video showed the two entered the casino at 7:33 p.m. and returned to the SUV around 9:11 p.m. They couldn’t post bond and were sent to Bucks County Jail. 

Police name suspect in fatal shooting at casino

Gila River Indian Community police have named a suspect in the fatal shooting at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino on Christmas Eve. Police on Saturday morning identified John Albert Campos Sr., 47, as the suspect. He is considered armed and dangerous, and officials are asking anybody with information on his whereabouts to call 911. Police say Campos shot retired Bakersfield, Calif., police Officer Frank Pascua, carjacked a witness and fled Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino at about 9 p.m. Thursday. “Our victim was trying to do what he’s been trained to do his entire life, which is stopping a crime and a dangerous person on the street,” said Gila River Detective Robert Hawkes. According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Campos was convicted in 2005 of numerous violent crimes, including armed robbery and kidnapping, for which he was released from prison in 2014.

Fountain City woman accused of embezzling nearly $154K from employer

A Fountain City woman has been accused of taking nearly $154,000 from her employer over a five-year period. Barbara Jean Przybylski, 47, has been charged with 10 felony counts of theft by swindle for allegedly writing herself 82 checks from September 2009 to August 2014. An independent accountant was then called in to examine the company books and accounting software, court documents state. The audit revealed 82 unauthorized checks totaling $153,899.37 written and cashed between September 2009 and August 2014. According to the results of the investigation, Przybylski would write a check to herself, print it out, then go back in and substitute the name and account number of a legitimate vendor to conceal the fraud in the electronic record. Przybylski told investigators that during that time she had been experiencing “financial problems” and had been doing a lot of online gambling, according to court documents. She said she took the money to pay for gambling, the complaint states.

‘Fat Dave’ is big fish in federal gambling case involving money laundering at casinos

Originally from Philadelphia, Stroj became well known in local sports gambling circles more than a decade ago after he moved his bookmaking business west to San Diego following trouble in the City of Brotherly Love. Sports bettors know all roads in that racket at some point pass through Las Vegas, a wonderland of super books, legions of players and numerous places to move money. Stroj is among 25 defendants charged late last week by a federal grand jury in San Diego with conducting an illegal bookmaking and gambling operation that used card rooms and casinos as a way of masking players’ accounts. Stroj’s group generated more than $2 million a month and netted $500,000 a month, the government alleges. (A 25-percent net profit, frankly, seems pretty high. Stroj would have customers open bookmaking accounts by writing and depositing checks with the Palomar and Village card rooms under another player’s account, the indictment claims. The Las Vegas casinos aren’t accused of any wrongdoing, but some of Stroj’s local connections have some explaining to do. In published reports, San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy describes the Stroj operation as “massive” and capable of laundering “millions of dollars in illicit proceeds. In court-authorized wiretaps, Stroj is overheard saying, “Palomar is the best way I can wash the money. I don’t have to report it. I just deposit it at the Palomar and there’s no problems for me.” 

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

A Brief Look at Crime 12/21 – 12/27

Man attempts ‘to sell baby daughter’ for £18,000 to clear gambling debts 


An Israeli man allegedly attempted to sell his three-month-old daughter for almost £18,000 in order to pay off his gambling debts. The man, who has not been named but is believed to be in his 30s, claims he never intended to go through with the 100,000 shekels sale, insisting the offer was a ruse to raise cash, Haaretz reported. His 27-year-old wife, also not named, was also detained by police but authorities said the extent of her involvement in the scheme remains unclear. She has been placed under house arrest. Jerusalem police officers caught the man after an undercover policeman — posing as a potential buyer — met with the suspect several times to allegedly arrange the sale. The man was arrested when he seemingly handed over his daughter to the uncover officer, who later said he had attempted to encourage the sale by telling the policeman he had had another family make an offer on the child.

Feds Say Former Police Credit Union VP Embezzled More Than a Million Dollars Over Two Decades 

When a retired Houston police officer dies or changes addresses, his or her pension check is most likely returned to the Houston Police Federal Credit Union, a federally insured credit union responsible for, among other things, the majority of accounts held by the Houston Police Officers’ Union. And it happens more often than you might think: The state of Texas alone accounts for more than $2 billion in unclaimed funds, according to the state Comptroller’s Office. But sometimes that money can slip through the cracks, and that’s how, according to a police union official, former credit union Vice President Cheryl Vickers got her hands on roughly $1.25 million over the span of nearly two decades. The police union itself is no stranger to embezzlement. In 2011, a former member was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for stealing more than $650,000 in union funds to feed a gambling addiction and pay off credit card debt, according to reports at the time. The member used checks to pay his bills, forging the carbon copy beneath the check with the name of legitimate charities, Hunt said.

Ex-Perrysburg clerk stole over half a million dollars from schools

In a carefully planned theft and money-laundering scheme that at times involved using stolen money to replace stolen money, a former accounts receivable clerk for Perrysburg schools admitted his crimes in court Monday. While the charges carry a maximum term of 35 years in prison, Whitson is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $800,000 in restitution to Perrysburg schools and the Bowling Green Bobcat Athletic Boosters under the terms of a plea agreement outlined in court. The agreement calls for Whitson to pay $551,865 to the district for the money he took and $64,514 for the cost of the special audit and criminal investigation. He also is to pay $181,892 to the boosters group at Bowling Green High School for the money he stole from it. No mention was made in court of what investigators believe Whitson used the money for, although the court previously banned him from the Hollywood Casino Toledo and other gambling venues as a condition of his bond. After the hearing, Mr. Matuszak declined to comment about how Whitson spent the stolen money other than to say, “I can tell you from the evidence that he was a gambler. I cannot tell you if it was a problem.” 

Gambling addiction led to $279K theft, brings prison and shame 

A gambling addiction led a former worker at IGA Abrasives LLC in Grand Rapids to steal $279,000 from his employer, his attorney said. Jeffery John Hudson, 47, was sentenced Monday, Dec. 14, to 21 months in federal prison after his earlier guilty plea to wire fraud. Hudson took the money between January 2010 and November 2013 while at IGA, which is owned by S.L. Munson & Company, based in Columbia, S.C. Hudson created false receipts to make it appear he was buying materials for IGA’s benefit. “… Mr. Hudson’s main significant issue is his addiction to gambling,” Stroba wrote. “As he has described it, he would bet on most anything, anywhere, anytime. His addiction was fed by his early ‘success’ as he has said. He does recognize this as the false siren that brought him crashing upon the shore. “His fraud offense here resulted from his need to stabilize his finances, but of course, it did anything but that. Mr. Hudson is ashamed of his conduct, the harm he caused, and the grief that he has brought to his family.”

Ex-WJB Capital Heads Get 4 1/2 Years for $11 Million Scam

Two former WJB Capital Group Inc. executives were sentenced to as long as 4 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to scheming to defraud investors of more than $11 million in an effort to prop up the now-defunct broker-dealer. The firm’s former chief executive officer, Craig A. Rothfeld, 44, of Manhattan, and co-founder Michael N. Romano, 43, of Commack, New York, admitted in July that they stole more than $1 million each from the firm by lying to lenders about WJB Capital’s finances. Defense attorneys have said that the men were just trying to keep the firm alive after the 2008 financial crisis and didn’t set out to steal from investors or use the company’s money improperly. Alcohol and drugs played a role in Romano’s actions, while Rothfeld has sought treatment for gambling problems, their lawyers said. 

West St. Paul bank manager stole $640K from customer

The former manager of Anchor Bank in West St. Paul has been accused of stealing $640,000 from a customer’s account over nearly a two-year period. Cynthia Marie Van DuSartz, 55, of Eagan was charged Tuesday with four counts of felony theft by swindle after allegedly transferring the money into an account she had set up at the bank. Investigators say Van DuSartz withdrew money from the account at various ATMs, Treasure Island Casino in Welch, Minn., and casinos in Las Vegas. According to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court in Hastings, the bank suspects other customers might have been victimized, too. Van DuSartz surrendered to police Saturday but declined to give a statement to investigators. 

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