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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