A Brief Look at Crime 01/25 – 01/31

Ex-casino exec, waitress and gambler charged in slot scheme 

Officials say a former casino vice president conspired with a cocktail waitress and a gambler to steal over $400,000 from a northeastern Pennsylvania casino. Court documents show Robert Pellegrini a former executive at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, was charged Tuesday along with server Rochelle Poszeluznyj and patron Mark Heltzel. They each face over 170 counts including theft, identity theft and criminal conspiracy. The state police Bureau of Gaming says Poszeluznyj would collect players’ casino cards and PIN numbers when they paid for drinks. They say she passed them to Pellegrini to make duplicates, which he gave to Heltzel to use at slot machines. Police say Heltzel would split his winnings with the duo.

Feds: St. Charles County woman embezzled $2.9 million from disabled man

A woman from St. Charles County took advantage of a disabled man and embezzled $2.9 million, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The victim asked Anastasia Grzeskowiak, now 61, to help him with paying his personal bills in June of 2003, after he developed a disease that impaired his ability to read, prosecutors said. Grzeskowiak forged the man’s signature on more than 800 checks that she used for gambling and to pay personal expenses and the expenses of others, they said. She also filed false tax returns from 2010-2012 because she failed to report her ill-gotten gains as income and pay $506,496 in taxes, they said. Grzeskowiak waived indictment Wednesday and pleaded guilty to one felony count of wire fraud and three felony counts of filing false tax returns.

Normandie Casino pleads guilty to federal money-laundering charges

Owners of the Normandie Casino in Gardena pleaded guilty Friday to helping big-spending gamblers launder $1.38 million in a scheme to conceal their identities and large cash transactions from the federal government in 2013, according to court documents. The casino’s four partners agreed in U.S. District Court to pay $1 million for two counts of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and launder money. They also agreed to pay the government $1.38 million received from the illegal activities in 2013, and to cooperate with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. In the plea deal, the club owners, acknowledged hiring promoters to lure high-rollers, then helping them sidestep federal financial regulations that are largely designed to handicap organized crime syndicates.

Former Ziggies owner pleads guilty to $1.3 million tax scheme  

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former owner of Ziggies restaurants in Springfield and elsewhere pleaded guilty in federal court today to failing to pay more than $1.3 million in federal payroll taxes.Zendeli operated a chain of restaurants under the name “Ziggies” in Springfield, Republic, Willard, Marshfield, Nevada, West Plains, Rolla, Carthage and Poplar Bluff in Missouri, and in Fort Scott and Pittsburg in Kansas, from 1998 to 2014. From 2004 through 2014, Zendeli diverted substantial amounts of money from the restaurant LLCs he owned and operated. During this period, Zendeli lived a lavish lifestyle, and spent substantial sums on vacations, gambling trips, entertainment and luxury vehicles. 

Construction company owner jailed for £300,000 tax theft claims he spent it gambling

THE owner of a Croydon construction company who stole £300,000 in taxes and claimed he spent it drinking and gambling has been jailed for two years. Leonard Gjini, who set up Leo’s Construction Services Ltd in April 2010, failed to pass HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Income Tax he deducted from the salaries of his employees and contractors, and also pocketed VAT he charged clients. At Croydon Crown Court today the 36-year-old pleaded guilty to VAT evasion as well as cheating the public revenue and was given a two year jail sentence by Judge Nicholas Ainley. Alan Tully, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said Gjini had “defrauded HMRC and abused the trust of his clients and employees”. “Gjini ran a relatively successful business, but by the time he finally admitted the fraud, he had built up a huge debt. 

Kansas City business owner sentenced in tax fraud

Kansas City business owner was sentenced to federal prison for failing to pay federal taxes he collected from his employees. Joseph Patrick Balano was sentenced Tuesday to two years and three months in federal prison without parole. He also was ordered to pay $493,443 in restitution. Balano pleaded guilty in August, admitting that he didn’t pay the Internal Revenue Service more than $260,000 that he collected in employment taxes, along with more than $232,000 as his employer portion of the taxes. Balano admitted he used the unpaid taxes for personal expenses and expenses for family members, including gambling, mortgage payments and car payments.

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