An employee of a performing arts group in Omaha has pleaded no contest to abuse of a vulnerable adult for taking about $113,000 from his mother, who suffers from dementia. The Omaha World-Herald reports that attorneys for 53-year-old John C. Gawf Jr. said the money was used to fuel the defendant’s gambling addiction. General director Roger Weitz says Gawf is the resident music director at Opera Omaha but declined to comment further. Opera Omaha spokeswoman Katie Broman says the organization didn’t know about the charge before Wednesday. Officials say Gawf took money from Thelma Gawf from May 2015 to January 2016. He gave bank documents to the investigator and said he had been using the stolen money to gamble.
A man was found dead outside the hotel tower at the Oneida Indian’s Turning Stone Casino Friday night. Turning Stone officials didn’t say exactly what happened, but gave a statement. “It is with deep sadness that we confirm the death of a man at the Tower hotel. Team Members acted quickly to alert the authorities. Police and ambulance services were onsite shortly after the incident occurred. In respect for the victim and the privacy of his family, we have no further comment at this time.” Nation police are investigating.
A Meadville woman was sentenced Monday after stealing money from a Crawford County social club. Debra Lewis, 50, was sentenced to six months probation and restitution of a portion of the money that was stolen from the Meadville Moose Lodge. Debra Lewis and her husband, Tim Lewis, 53, who was the former Crawford County Prison warden, stole more than $130,000 from the lodge and used it to gamble. Tim Lewis, who resigned his post at the prison, is free on bond and is awaiting trial.
A woman who spent more than three years behind bars for embezzling some $1.7 million from a South Windsor law firm is facing the possibility of going back to federal prison based on accusations that she has violated her release conditions by gambling at a casino. A judge has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on a federal probation officer’s petition alleging the “supervised release” violation by Patricia Baddeley, who is in her early 50s and has lived in Ellington. She was known as Patricia Baddeley Meehan in 2010 when the same judge, Stefan R. Underhill, sentenced her to 46 months in federal prison for mail fraud and filing a false tax return. Both crimes stemmed from her embezzlement of the $1.7 million from the South Windsor law firm of Berman & Russo when she worked as a paralegal there.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and Waterfront Commissioner Ronald Goldstock, announced that a Queens County grand jury has indicted five individuals — including one Rockville Centre man — on charges of operating an illegal sports gambling wire room in Bayside, Queens that is alleged to have annually booked more than $750,000 in bets. The defendants are variously charged in a 14-count indictment with enterprise corruption — a violation of New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act — as well as first-degree promoting gambling and fifth-degree conspiracy. The defendants each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. “Over the last few years — working with our law enforcement colleagues — we have taken down a number of these gambling operations and put them out of business,” Brown said. “These cases, I believe, have put a significant dent in illegal gambling nationwide — and have saved individuals across the country millions of dollars in gambling losses.”
Herman Cordell Bryant has been called “a pillar of his community,” overcoming drug addiction and an extensive criminal past to give back to his community. He spent years helping addicts like himself stay sober through the nonprofit organization the Miracles Club, even becoming its executive director. But on Wednesday, Bryant was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling $144,000 from the Northeast Portland nonprofit. He was indicted in February on first-degree aggravated theft and other charges related to the theft of money from the Miracles Club, a nonprofit organization that helps recovering drug addicts and alcoholics stay sober. Bryant in June confessed to first-degree aggravated theft, and the other charges were dropped, according to court documents. The Multnomah County Circuit Court indictment claimed Bryant began unneling tens of thousands of dollars for his own use in early 2013, continuing until the end of 2014. He was accused of gambling away much of it at the Spirit Mountain Casino. Bryant told the judge he began treatment for his gambling addiction in 2014, before he was indicted earlier this year. “But the damage is done, your honor,” Bryant said. “The damage is done.” As he spoke, Bryant cried — not for fear of prison, he said, but “for letting down the community that needed and trusted me.”
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