A Brief Look at Crime 11/21-11/27

Former Bellagio Craps Dealer Sentenced for $1 Million Scam 

A former Bellagio Casino craps dealer has been sentenced to two to five years in prison for his role in a $1 million scam against that establishment. James R. Cooper Jr., 44, pleaded guilty to one count of theft _*in connection with orchestrating phony bets at the dice game that took place over a two year period from 2012 to 2014. Cooper Jr. was accused along with three other individuals, including a one time Major League Baseball player, of scamming the Bellagio through what the Las Vegas Review Journal described as a “one-time, high-risk oral propositions in which a player wagered that a specific number would be rolled next,” wagers that defied 452-billion-to-1 odds. Former dealer Mark Branco, one-time MLB player Jeffrey Martin and Anthony Granito were also convicted in the scheme and could serve up to ten years behind bars.

Calgary woman jailed for stealing $1.4 million from Trimac

Embezzling more than $1.4 million from her employer earned a Calgary woman four years in prison Monday. Family members of Linda Louise Miller fought back tears and anger as Provincial Court Judge Allan Fradsham agreed to a joint Crown-defence submission she spend that amount of time behind bars. Over an eight-year period, Miller stole more than $1.422 million from her employer Trimac Corp., spending 75% of it on gambling, said her lawyer Lori MacKay. “There was no lavish lifestyle being supported by this,” MacKay told court. She said Miller initially purloined money from the company to cover debts and “had every intention of paying that back.” But matters spun out of control, said MacKay, who also noted her client had pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 and was cooperative with authorities. 

Feds bust 9 members of Brooklyn-based Russian criminal enterprise 

Federal agents arrested nine reputed members of a Brooklyn-based Russian organized crime syndicate early Wednesday, sources said. The mobsters are expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Brooklyn Federal Court on racketeering, extortion, loansharking, drug trafficking and illegal gambling charges. The mobsters, acting under the direction of their reputed leader Viktor Zelinger, operated in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, sources said. The crime syndicate has roots in The Soviet Union and still maintains ties to the Russian homeland, a source said.

Man sentenced for bilking NFL players in horse racing scheme

An Ohio man has been sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to bilking four NFL players out of more than $350,000. Prosecutors say he spent the money on a luxury SUV, sports tickets and gambling. A federal judge in Cleveland also told Jonathan Pippin to pay back more than $358,000 and undergo addiction treatment. Pippin apologized in court Monday while blaming his lavish lifestyle and alcoholism. Authorities say Pippin ripped off the players in a horse-racing investment scheme. An investigation into the Logan man began in 2012.

Ex-fire company treasurer charged with stealing nearly $400K  

A former Pennsylvania volunteer fire company treasurer who received a $400 annual stipend has been accused of stealing nearly 1,000 times that much from the organization. Fifty-one-year-old Agnes Patterson, of Hellertown, surrendered Wednesday on charges she stole more than $395,000 from the Dewey Fire Company since 2009. Patterson had been the group’s treasurer since 2002. Patterson was removed as treasurer in July after an audit turned up the missing money. An audio recording of a fire company meeting in July that was played for a grand jury includes Patterson acknowledging she “betrayed the people and their trust.” Authorities say Patterson spent most of the money on gambling and entertainment at casinos in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. 

Yardley accountant gets 3 to 6 years for stealing $378K from elderly women

Jeanne Swain, 59, was sentenced Monday in Bucks County Court to serve three to six years in a state correctional institution, or SCI, for thefts totaling more than $378,000. Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. also sentenced the woman to 10 years of probation concurrent to her prison term. Prosecutors say Swain between December 2008 and September 2015 used her role as the women’s accountant and power of attorney to make a number of unauthorized payments to herself from their accounts while in control of their finances. She offered a gambling addiction as an explanation for her actions, but said that was not an excuse. “I blame no one and nothing else for what I have done,” she said. With three of her victims deceased and the fourth living with Alzheimer’s disease in a nursing home, Swain directed her apologies to the families of the women she fleeced.

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