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 when it came to light that former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy launched a security consulting business affiliated with United. 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.
A Bloomington investment advisor who stole more than $680,000 in retirement funds from her elderly or disabled clients has been sentenced to five years behind bars. U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced that Cindy L. Lampkins, 47, appeared before U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker Monday and was given a 60-month sentence on one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Officials said Lampkins previously worked as the vice-president of Kern Financial Group, an insurance and financial services firm in Bloomington that she owned and operated with her father. “Stealing retirement funds from elderly and disabled clients is an unthinkable crime,” Minkler said in a statement. “Victims who can’t fend for themselves will have the U.S. Attorney’s Office as their advocate and we will hold people strictly accountable for their criminal actions.” Lampkins used the stolen funds to pay for visits to casinos, trips to Las Vegas and Florida, restaurant bills and other personal or business expenses.
Jessica Tyrrell-Murray, the daughter of Gary and Jan Tyrrell, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mark Porter last week in Greene County. Porter, 55, pleaded guilty in August to murdering Gary and Jan Tyrrell in their home at 3232 S. Greenbrier Ave. on April 30, 2014. He was given two consecutive life sentences. Police say Gary Tyrrell, 60, was shot twice, and Jan Tyrrell, 61, was bludgeoned to death with a rare engraved walrus tusk. The lawsuit claims Tyrrell-Murray “is entitled to recover such sums that will fairly and justly compensate her for her injuries and damages.” The lawsuit does not designate a specific dollar amount the family is seeking from Porter. The lawsuit says the amount should be enough to “punish” Porter and deter other would-be killers in the future. Police detectives have said Porter had “gambling issues” and had asked his longtime friend and co-worker Gary Tyrrell for a $250,000 loan shortly before the Tyrrells were found dead.
Twenty suspects were charged last week following a months-long sweep by Rhode Island State Police. On Wednesday, Eyewitness News obtained the search warrants, which revealed just how lucrative the alleged gambling and drug operations were. The people arrested during the investigation dubbed “Operation Free Roll” were involved in illegal sports betting, according to investigators. State police raided The Cozy Grill restaurant in Warwick and a Narragansett home on April 12 as part of the investigation. As a result, 19 men and one woman were arrested on charges that included organized criminal gambling, bookmaking, and conspiracy. The sting also resulted in the bust of a $1.5 million marijuana operation. The documents revealed one text exchange with an order for 15 pounds of the drug.
A suburban St. Louis woman has been sentenced to more than four years in prison and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution for defrauding a disabled man, and lying on tax returns. The sentence for 61-year-old Anastasia Grzeskowiak of St. Charles was handed down Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. She pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud and filing false tax return charges. Grzeskowiak managed the financial affairs for a man with significantly impaired vision. Federal prosecutors say that from 2006 through April 2013, Grzeskowiak forged the victim’s signature on more than 800 checks, and used the money on personal expenses and gambling. The victim was defrauded of nearly $3 million, and the government, through false tax returns, lost more than $500,000.
Cook, a former senior coordinator team member at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando on I-Drive, allegedly confessed to Universal authorities that he stole up to $500,000. Only WESH 2 News obtained his arrest affidavit. The report said Cook told Universal investigators he had been taking as much as $5,000 per week over the past three years. He told them he made fraudulent returns of expired park tickets, then pocketed the cash by taking his cash register to an area where he knew he wasn’t being watched. Police reports said Cook admitted to using the money initially for rent and day-to-day expenses, but continued using the funds to pay for his mother’s rent, his friend’s groceries, personal bills and for vacations to go gamble. Wet ‘n Wild, which is owned by Universal Studios, said a park investigator caught Cook after an audit showed nearly $500,000 missing.
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