A Brief Look at Crime 8/29-9/04

Bucks woman charged with drugging horses to rig races at Parx

A Bucks County woman has been arrested after she allegedly administered performance-enhancing drugs to racehorses, the Attorney General’s office announced Thursday. Marian Vega, 25, a groom at the Parx Casino and Racing facility in Bensalem, has been charged with one count of rigging a publicly exhibited contest. She was released on $20,000 unsecured bail to await a preliminary hearing. According to the Attorney General’s office, Vega administered doses of the drug Clenbuterol to a number of horses that was beyond “accepted guidelines.” Vega was found with a bottle of the drug during the investigations by the state’s Horse Racing Commission and the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Section and Gaming Unit. The horses were trained by Ramon Preciado, according to the Daily Racing Form. The drug is used to treat horses with respiratory disease but when used outside prescribed guidelines has the effect of a performance-enhancing drug.

Police identify woman killed in illegal gambling room

Police have identified a woman who was killed earlier this month in a suspected illegal gambling room, which authorities say is part of a growing problem in Austin. Police said Ga Young Chon, 58, operated an illegal gambling business in the 900 block of Wagon Trail. She was shot and killed Aug. 8 in what appears to have been an attempted robbery, police said. Two other men who were also shot have been treated and released, homicide Sgt. Jerry Bauzon said Thursday. One suspect in Chon’s killing was injured in the shooting and remains in critical condition at University Medical Center Brackenridge. Police said an unknown man involved in her death is at large. He is described as 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing between 180 and 190 pounds in his mid- to late 20s. Police say the large amount of cash on hand makes illegal gambling rooms attractive targets for robbers. And since the victims are breaking the law themselves, they might choose to not cooperate with investigators.

Woman stole $1.7M from Minn. employer, lost most at casino

Three-plus years in prison is the sentence for a woman who over many years stole $1.7 million from her employer in southern Minnesota and blew most of the money on gambling. Diane M. Eiler, 48, of Bird Island, Minn., was sentenced last week in federal court in Minneapolis to 3½ years in prison and ordered to make full restitution to AgQuest Financial Services, of Morgan, her employer for more than 15 years until her stealing was revealed. “Eiler systematically abused the trust of her employer to steal more than $1.7 million,” said Assistant United States Attorney Joseph H. Thompson. Eiler, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was the director of accounting at AgQuest, which offers loans and insurance to farmers and other agricultural producers.

DPS principal used stolen money on casino

Claims by a Detroit Public School principal that money she stole from the district in a $2.7 million scheme was spent on students are false and also irrelevant, federal prosecutors said in court filings on Monday. On Monday, prosecutors filed a sentencing memo in Smith’s case saying financial records obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit prove that Smith used illegal money to make purchases at Art Van Furniture, El-Mar Furs, Delta Air Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises, several restaurants, Caesar’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and other personal expenditures.

Hidden bingo hall bunker housed enough weapons to ‘start a war’

A raid at a Houston bingo hall last week turned up a little more than just illegal gambling. Authorities discovered a hidden, underground bunker containing 100 firearms, ammunition, body armor and “military-style provisions,” according to Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. “Enough, what I would consider, to start a small war,” said Lt. Ruben Diaz with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “This is one of largest seizures of guns I’ve seen in one particular spot.” Twelve people, including the owners of Paradise Bingo Hall, were arrested and now face charges for organized crime. Investigators claim the suspects gathered cash earned from illegal gambling machines and laundered it through a number of ATM machines also owned by the bingo hall’s owners. Police believe some $15 million in illegal funds was laundered over the last four years, some of which was used to purchase the cache of guns, ammunition and equipment found in what Anderson described as a “doomsdayish” bunker.

Man charged in slaying of woman at Austin gambling room

Austin police have arrested a man in the slaying of a woman at an illegal gambling room during what investigators call a botched robbery attempt. Travis County jail records show 25-year-old David Bruce McKinley was being held without bondThursday on a capital murder charge. Online jail records don’t list an attorney to speak for McKinley, who was arrestedTuesday in connection with the Aug. 8 gunfire. Austin police say 58-year-old Ga Young Chon was killed and several other people wounded. A police affidavit says investigators believe McKinley and two women planned rob the gambling room, which featured slot-type machines, around closing time. A woman who allegedly agreed to be part of the robbery attempt, then backed out, later helped police identify McKinley.

Former CEO Gets Six Months for $1.4M Embezzlement

A New Orleans U.S. District Court Judge sentenced a 30-year president/CEO of a failed Louisiana credit union to six months in prison Wednesday for stealing more than $1.4 million Judge Susie Morgan also ordered Jacqueline Ray, 61, of Biloxi, Miss., to serve six months in home confinement and to pay $1 million in restitution to CUMIS and $452,752 to the NCUA. Ray also must serve two and half years of supervised release. “The guilt that I have been carrying with me has been a heavy weight on my shoulders not just for damaging the credit union that I loved but also for the irreparable damage and hurt that I have caused my loved ones and for sinning against my Savior,” Ray wrote in a letter to Judge Morgan. Ray also indicated in her letter that she stole the funds because of her depression and had a gambling addiction. Instead of leaning on others for support when she was depressed, she gambled, she wrote.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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