A Brief Look at Crime 12/19-12/25

JPMorgan Chase Charged in Stealing $5 Mil From Bank to Pay Off Gambling Debts

A former JPMorgan Chase & Co employee who has been ordered to attend counseling for gambling is facing criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to defraud the bank out of $5 million in order to pay personal debts. The complaint against Obracanik did not identify JPMorgan by name. But a profile for him on LinkedIn said that he had worked for the bank in Texas. A spokesman for JPMorgan declined co comment. The bank is based in New York. According to the complaint, from July 2014 to February 2016, Obracanik made or tried to make 22 wire transfers for more than $5 million from an account at a bank that was apparently JPMorgan to an account at another bank belonging to an unnamed individual. The complaint said that during an interview with two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in August, Obracanik admitted wiring the money to that person’s account and said that he had done so to pay personal debts.

Woman Accused of Embezzling $500K From Employer Used it For Gambling

A woman arrested for allegedly embezzling $500,000 from her employer in Escondido, pleaded not guilty in court on Friday. Prosecutors say Sheila Jo Jackson, 46, was stealing the money from Betz Concrete to fuel a gambling addiction. She faces several felony charges including embezzlement by employee, forgery, grand theft and identity theft Prosecutors say Jackson’s employer told her to close the company’s Bank of America account back in 2012, but she secretively kept them open, using her position as office manager to have continued access to them. “Its just unfortunate when a small family owned business, the owner who was on site and trying to grow his business,” said Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. In November, a bank employee noticed the suspicious signatures and contacted the owner. Escondido police reached out to local casinos and found a player’s card registered under Jackson’s name. The car had been frequently used over the span of five years, indicated that she had been at slot machines where more than $1,000,000 was played. 

Woman who beat her husband to death pleads guilty to manslaughter

An Edmonton woman who beat her husband to death with various items, including a broken curtain rod, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Friday. Nyuk Len Hwang, 55, was charged with second-degree murder for the Aug. 25, 2013, killing of Teck Hwang, 56; however, the Crown accepted her plea to the lesser and included offence. According to an agreed statement of facts, Hwang repeatedly hit her husband of 27 years with the shower curtain rod, a two-by-four piece of wood, a stone pestle, a yellow wooden stick and a red metal broom handle during a protracted argument over his gambling problem throughout the day at their northeast Edmonton home. And when the victim was unconscious, Hwang bit him on the inner thigh in an attempt to wake him.

Dozens arrested had mob ties in gambling ring bust 

The Genovese crime family controlled an offshore gambling venture through which members of four area mob groups placed millions of dollars in illicit sports bets, authorities charged Wednesday. Prosecutors accused more than 40 alleged mobsters, associates and wannabes of running the ring, which they said boasted more than 12,000 customers nationwide and raked in about $300,000 a week for the nation’s most powerful Mafia family. Capping an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police, more than 100 officers fanned out across North Jersey early Wednesday, executing 25 search warrants at homes and businesses. Those arrested included Joseph “The Eagle” Gatto, who controlled one of two Costa Rican “wire rooms” that accepted the bets from associates of the Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno/Massino and Gambino crime families, authorities said.

Former Basehor, Kan., business owner sentenced for $856,000 tax fraud 

The former owner of a Basehor, Kan., business was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison for failing to pay more than $850,000 in payroll taxes. Elizabeth Lucero, 53, of Basehor, was ordered to pay $856,784 in restitution as part of Tuesday’s sentencing in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. Lucero owned Sunshine Home Health Care Center in Basehor. From 2007 to 2011, she withheld taxes from employee paychecks, but failed to turn the money over to the federal government. During that time, company funds were used to pay Lucero’s personal expenses, including money spent on gambling and a $50,000 Cadillac Escalade, according to federal prosecutors.

Court awards pension to wife of URI clerk who embezzled tuition money

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the wife of a former University of Rhode Island employee who stole students’ payments can receive a portion of his pension, but not until after her husband fully pays the $200,000 in restitution he owes. Judge Jeffrey Lanphear agreed to allow Diane Randall to receive a $1,667 monthly pension as the “innocent” spouse of Fred L. Randall, a longtime state employee who admitted to embezzling $200,000 in tuition payments from URI from 2004 until 2011 to fund his his addiction to gambling. “As indicated, she is free from guilt, but not necessarily free from fault as she not only gambled, but received compensation in the form of casino rewards for the large amounts gambled,” Lanphear wrote. “Mrs. Randall’s receipt of some benefit from the illicit scheme, as minor as it may or may not be, necessarily factors into whatever discretion the court may have in meting out an award as justice may require.”

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