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

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