A Brief Look at Crime 12/12-12/18

CEO Of Veterans Credit Union Gets Prison For $2 Million Theft

The former president and CEO of the Veterans HealthAdministration Credit Union will spend just over two years in prison for stealing nearly $2 million. The Attorney General’s office says Fuataina Afutiti of Westland, who worked out a plea deal for embezzling the money, will also have to pay $1.9 million in restitution. The agreement calls for Afutiti to spend 30 months to up to 20 years in prison. Investigators say Afutiti used the money on luxury cars, gambling and vacations. The missing money was found during an audit by the state Department of Insurance and FinancialServices. The credit union closed earlier this year after the embezzlement was discovered. “This person not only took advantage of her position within the credit union but took advantage of military veterans, many of who are disabled or on a fixed income,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. “Individuals who served and sacrificed for this country deserve the utmost respect and instead the members of the credit union were victimized. I am pleased to see this verdict.”

450,000 children gambling every week, commission warns

Some 450,000 children aged between 11 and 15 are gambling on a weekly basis, new research from the Gambling Commission, a Government regulatory body, has warned. The report revealed that 9,000 of those children are likely to be ‘problem gamblers’, despite 60 per cent of those surveyed agreeing that gambling is dangerous. Of the 2,411 children sampled from 103 state secondary schools in England and Wales, gambling was more prevalent in boys than girls. According to the research, boys gambled double the amount girls did in the week prior to the study, with the report showing that, across Europe, boys were generally more likely to gamble than girls.

Caroline Dumont of Swanscombe siphoned off £1m from firm and gambled it

A book­keeper who gambled away almost £1m of company funds has been ordered to pay back just £57,741. Caroline Dumont, who is serving three years and four months, systematically siphoned off money from three firms in New Ash Green and Aylesford for almost three years. One company was forced into liquidation and the second, set up to save staff jobs, would have sunk within a year if the deceit had not been discovered. The boss of plant hire company Tara Holdings and later Aylesford-­based Tara Ltd, had to use his own money to keep the business afloat. Prosecutor Bridget Todd told Maidstone Crown Court in December last year: “It is obvious from close examination of her bank accounts that she has a gambling habit that is entrenched and relentless.”

Man shot over gambling debt 

Officers from the Palm Beach Gardens Police say a man was shot over an apparent gambling dept Monday morning. The incident happened near Alternate A1A and Gardens Parkway, near the Gardens Mall. Police say the victim, Antonio Smith Jr., was transported to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries and has since been released. Smith identified his shooter as 20-year-old Anthony Mattys. Authorities say Mattys shot Smith over money. Mattys was later arrested on Wednesday and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail, where he has been charged with attempted second degree homicide with a firearm, shooting into an occupied vehicle and discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

Pair admit to roles in $400K gambling scheme at casino

A former Mohegan Sun Pocono casino executive and a Back Mountain man who won more than $422,000 in a gambling scheme, folded Thursday, pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Robert Pellegrini, a former vice president of player development at the casino, and Mark Heltzel face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine under the maximum terms of their plea agreements to the felony charge. The men also agreed to make full restitution. A federal grand jury indicted the men in April, alleging they conspired with Poszeluznyj in the scheme that ran from May 2014 to April 2015 and involved personal identification numbers stolen from approximately 160 gamblers. According to the indictment: Poszeluznyj stole the PINs from the rewards cards of patrons she served and gave the information to Heltzel, with whom she had a personal relationship. Heltzel in turn gave the information to Pellegrini, who duplicated the cards and put approximately $478,000 free-play credits on the duplicates. The cards are used in slot machines and gain points to be cashed in for casino perks such as free drinks and hotel rooms. Heltzel gambled with the cards and split $422,147 with his partners. He and Pellegrini took the largest shares.

Feds quietly seized millions from online casinos’ money movers

In the spring of 2011, a Seattle Police Department detective hit it big on Betus.com. The undercover detective had joined the online casino and sportsbook as part of an investigation into companies that move its money. A Western Union check to the Philippines funded his gambling; a wire transfer into a dummy bank account paid by his winnings. That sting operation enabled members of a Seattle-based U.S. Secret Service taskforce to seize $3.4 million from Thames Point Management, one of the money processors working with the casino. If those companies’ operators cared, they haven’t mentioned it – the firms didn’t bother fighting a civil action brought by federal prosecutors looking to keep the money. The seizure represented a large portion of the $21 million collected in 2015 through forfeiture actions initiated by federal prosecutors in Western Washington.

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

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