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

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