A Brief Look at Crime 9/12-9/18

Eight Killed And 44 Injured In South Texas Casino Bus Accident

In May, a charter bus accident in South Texas killed eight people and injured another 44, according to a police report filed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.The bus, owned by OGA Charters, was on its way to a casino in the Rio Grande Valley from Eagle Pass when it veered off the road about 42 miles north of Laredo. The bus then overturned, before coming to a complete stop. Seven passengers were pronounced dead at the accident site, and an eighth passenger was transported to a local hospital for treatment, before eventually succumbing to his injuries. Law enforcement authorities did not disclose the names of the deceased passengers, the bus driver – who survived the crash – or those who suffered injuries. What makes this bus accident troubling beyond the tragic loss of lives is the fact that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) fined OGA Charters $1,990 in 2011 for violating pre-employment drug testing regulations, and for improper maintenance and repair of its vehicles. Sadly, this South Texas bus accident is one of several recent bus crashes that have resulted in fatalities and injuries across the state.

Ex-lawyer gets 4 years for stealing $1.6 M

Despite his plea for leniency, a former Louisville lawyer who said he stole $1.6 million from clients to feed a casino gambling addiction was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison. David Cary Ford, 53, had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering for taking money from 10 estates that would have gone to charitable organizations, including Little Sisters of the Poor and WHAS Crusade for Children. As the executor of the estates, Ford was allowed to pay their expenses, a power that he abused by personally withdrawing and spending that money. In addition, restitution was ordered for seven individuals, named only by their initials in court documents, who would have received bequests from the estates if not for Ford’s fraud. Renn acknowledged in court that it’s unlikely Ford will be able to pay back all he owes. Ford gambled at the casino now known as Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

US Open tennis match investigated over irregular betting patterns

The New York Times reported that a Russian bookmaker informed the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) of suspicious wagers on the Aug. 30 match between Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, the tournament’s no. 15 seed, and Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko. Details of the suspect wagers, such as amounts and outcomes gambled on, were not immediately clear. Bacsinszky, the heavy favorite in the match, defeated Diatchenko in straight sets, 6-1 6-1. TIU spokesman Mark Harrison confirmed to the Times that the match was the subject of a “betting alert”. United States Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier noted that a betting alert does not amount to confirmation of match-fixing. Earlier this year, the BBC and Buzzfeed jointly reported that tennis authorities had ignored repeated warnings about possible match-fixing by 16 top pro tennis players. The report rocked the sport on the eve of the Australian Open, the first of its four major events.

132 suspects linked to illegal gambling and welfare card fraud scheme

 

Four people linked to several Tallahassee businesses have been arrested in connection with an illegal gambling, racketeering, money laundering and welfare card fraud operation involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The two men and two women are among 132 suspects linked to a scheme involving the use of illegal gambling machines and EBT cards, according to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. The arrests are the culmination of an investigation launched in January when LCSO detectives began looking into illegal gambling at the Wondu Marathon Convenience Store on West Orange Avenue. Investigators say Gator Tail Amusement, LLC, supplied the illegal gambling machines. Authorities confiscated 61 machines from the company’s warehouse. During a raid in July, investigators seized six illegal gambling machines from the Wondu Marathon, 10 machines from Euro Fashions Boutique and six from One Stop College Market. A machine technician for Gator Tail interviewed during the investigation said Gator Tail would take a 40 percent “cut” of money from the machines, giving Wondu and others businesses the remaining 60 percent. Gator Tail, whose owner is listed as Dan Foshee, deposited nearly $630,000 in a Centennial Bank business checking account between February and December of 2015 and withdrew just above $480,000 during the same time period. As part of the investigation, agents and detectives also examined bank records connected to Gizaw-Tessema showing deposits of $1,421,293 and withdrawals totaling $1,408,744 from four separate accounts

Broward betting consultant pleads guilty in bizarre $45M extortion and fraud case

Nationally known South Florida betting expert Adam Meyer — who billed himself as a “sports consultant to the stars” —pleaded guilty Thursday in a bizarre $45 million extortion and fraud case. Meyer, 44, of Southwest Ranches, admitted he used alter egos, faked a Chinese accent and fabricated a story that his life was being threatened, to rip off a former client to the tune of more than $45 million in just four years. The victim started buying betting “picks” from Meyer in 2007 but was victimized after he reduced his gambling activity in 2009, authorities said. Prosecutors have tried to shield the identity of the victim but he was widely identified in media reports as Gary Sadoff, of Fond du Lac, Wis., a wealthy businessman who owns a liquor distribution business. Meyer admitted Thursday in federal court in Wisconsin**that he made up an elaborate collection of lies and told the victim that Meyer’s life was being threatened by a bookie who was holding himself and the victim equally responsible for a large gambling debt. Starting in 2009, the victim wired millions of dollars into bank accounts controlled by Meyer who used the money “for a variety of other purposes, including betting on more sporting events,” investigators said. After the victim told Meyer, in early 2012, that he would not be sending any more money, Meyer pretended he wanted to meet to repay some of the money. But Meyer was just upping the ante on his extortion, investigators said.

‘It was a definite statement … that gambling can kill’

The gruesome suicide of Peter Williams was a shocking reminder ofthe human cost of gambling – but experts say casinos do little tohelp the addicts who fill their coffers When Peter Williams burnt himself to death at Montecasino on July 24, he wasn’t just giving up. He wanted to dramatise his surrender – to burn his despair into public consciousness. By torching his body in the glow of the slot machines, Williams also set fire to the idea, propagated by the casinos, that gambling is an escape from pain. Williams’s cousin, Richard Byrne, is sure his suicide was an attack on that myth. “I believe it was a definite statement … that gambling can kill. We of course believe that he was more important as a person to us than such a statement,” he said. “According to witnesses, relying on what the police told us, he poured petrol over himself, then lit himself and ran through security, who weren’t going to stop a burning person, ran downstairs, then upstairs, then towards the gambling hall, and collapsed just before he reached the machines. And that’s where he died.” Tsogo Sun, which owns Montecasino, expressed sadness and offered condolences to Williams’s family this week. But the company also denied a link between his death and his losses. “We have not been advised this gentleman’s tragic suicide was in any way related to gaming,” it said. Byrne rejects this with contempt. “That’s a very self-serving and ridiculous statement. It’s got everything to do with gambling. The amount of money e spent on his overdraft would take an ordinary person years to pay back.”

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

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