A Brief Look at Crime 04/11 – 04/17

190 deaths linked to problem gambling in eight years, report says

Nearly 200 people have taken their own lives in Quebec because of problems related to compulsive gambling in the space of nearly a decade. CJAD News has obtained a coroner’s report that says between 190 compulsive gamblers killed themselves during a period lasting between 2005 and 2013. One of the cases the coroner looked into was a man who threw himself off a bridge near the Montreal Casino last September. The 59-year-old man had just gambled away a lot of money — and even left a note that said “Bye Bye” on the gaming table before leaving. “Let me be clear, one suicide is too many,” Lavoie says. “Loto-Quebec endeavors to help customers who experience gambling-related problems, even though those people represent a minority of out clientele.”

Panama Papers expose link to Amaya Gaming insider trading investigation

The so-called Panama Papers, which detail the use of shell companies by
the planet’s rich and powerful, contain possible links to the insider trading scandal involving Canadian online gambling operator*Amaya GA. This weekend’s release of 11.5m confidential documents belonging to Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca has already prompted the Prime Minister of Iceland to resign and many other prominent figures are expected to find themselves in similarly sticky wickets as their shadowy business connections are brought to light. Online registries list a number of gambling websites hosted on Zapha.com’s DNS server, including *BetonUSA.com*, the US-facing online sportsbook owned by Josh and his partner *Craig Levett* until the pair claimed to have sold their interests following the US government’s 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Other sites associated with Zhapa include *Oddsmaker.ag*, another notorious slow/no-pay US-facing sportsbook that launched following the UIGEA, and Oddsmaker’s affiliate site Referincome.com. Both Josh and Levett were originally rumored to be linked with Oddsmaker but someone claiming to be Levett told Bookmakers Review in 2007 that he had no connection with the site.

Poker Player Indicted In New York Over Sports Betting

A Queens County grand jury on Tuesday indicted eight individuals, including poker player Jay Sharon, over an alleged illegal sports gambling operation that is accused of booking more than $3.5 million in bets annually. The government said that the operation involved websites and toll-free telephone numbers set up to facilitate the bets. The defendants are charged with enterprise corruption, a violation of New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act, as well as money laundering, promoting gambling and conspiracy. The defendants are in custody in New York and Las Vegas, and are awaiting arraignment in Queens County Supreme Court, according to a press release. Sharon, a 47-year-old poker player with more $210,000 in lifetime tournament earnings, was the alleged boss of the operation. The NYPD took $93,000 in cash from the men.

Man convicted of executing 4 people at NJ gambling club

A man serving four back-to-back life sentences for the cold-blooded slaying of four people at an underground gambling club financed by the FBI has lost another appeal. David Baylor, now 36, was convicted in 2008 of shooting four victims, pumping a single bullet into each of their heads, during a robbery on Dec. 14, 2005. The after-hours club in this city was secretly being kept open by federal investigators who wanted to use it to attract gang members they were investigating. One of Baylor’s victim’s pleaded for her life before he pulled the trigger — and Baylor later joked about the massacre, according to an accomplice who testified against him. Baylor has already lost previous appeals of the verdict and sentencing, which puts him away for four consecutive life sentences for the murders, plus another 10 years on top of that for a gun charge. The state Supreme Court has declined to take up his case.

Las Vegas Sands to pay $9 million as SEC investigation ends 

Las Vegas Sands Corp. will pay a $9 million fine and be required to hire an independent consultant on its business activities in China and Macau under a settlement reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. The company that owns The Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as properties in Macau, Singapore and Pennsylvania, said the settlement concludes a six-year SEC investigation involving compliance with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that found no evidence of corrupt intent or bribery by the company. The United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for companies and their executives to attempt to influence foreign government officials with personal payments.

Rivers Casino pays $1.65M after mob inquiry  

Rivers Casino has paid one of the largest gaming-related fines in modern times — $1.65 million — following an Illinois Gaming Board investigation spurred in part by questions over a security and maintenance contractor’s ties to reputed mob figures. Last year, the Better Government Association discovered that Rivers — Illinois’ newest and most lucrative casino — hired United Service Cos. for security and cleaning work at the Des Plaines gaming site. United is run by Richard “Rick” Simon, who has had admitted business and personal ties to reputed mob figures, including his late friend and boss, Ben Stein. Simon made news earlier in the week after the Sun-Times and BGA reported that a firm headed by former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was working with one of Simon’s companies. The BGA asked Rivers officials last May about United’s hiring because Illinois casinos are not supposed to have even a hint of organized crime connections — something that helped sink Rosemont’s years-long push to score a gaming license.

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