A Brief Look at Crime 02/20 – 02/26

Clerk stole more than £330,000 from building firm – and 60 people could now lose their jobs

A trusted accounts clerk stole more than £330,000 from a building company to pay for her online gambling habit – and 60 jobs are now in jeopardy because of her thefts. Pearce began secretly transferring funds to herself in 2011 and carried on for five years. But she was found out in 2016, after 16 years of service to the company, when another employee noticed 90 unauthorised transactions from the company account to a B. Pearce. The court heard building company Brecongate is now struggling to survive because of her crimes. “She was shocked in her interview to realise how much money she had taken” Defending Pearce, Claire Wilks said Pearce blamed her addiction to online gambling. She said: “It was almost not real money. Putting figures into the computer and gambling away.

Travel agent who scammed customers gets almost 4 years

A Massachusetts travel agent has been sentenced to almost four years in prison for using millions of dollars in deposits from cruise customers to support his gambling habit. Federal prosecutors say about 400 customers were left in the lurch after paying Tom Harper Cruises nearly $3 million. They say Bret Gordon, a Waltham man who was the business’ majority owner, took about $2.25 million of that. Prosecutors say Gordon had exclusive control of the finances at the Newton business, which sold overseas river cruise vacations. The 44-year-old was also sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and was ordered to pay full restitution. He pleaded guilty in November to wire fraud and tax offenses. The company declared bankruptcy.

Helena man admits he stole almost $300,000 from his mom

A Helena suspect admits in court on Thursday that he stole nearly $300,000 while acting as a caregiver for his mother. Between 2011 and 2015, prosecutors say Kevin Todd Vinson stole $292,000 from his 71-year-old mother. Vinson pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft Thursday morning. Charging documents say Vinson took control of his mother’s assets from various accounts including a $192,000 insurance claim. He then allegedly spent the money on gambling, drinking, a car and a motorcycle, before abruptly moving to Florida in January of 2015.

Broward betting consultant faces prison for $45M extortion and fraud

South Florida betting expert Adam Meyer used bizarre methods to rip off more than $45 million from one of his wealthy clients — money he used to gamble, buy fancy homes, luxury cars and expensive jewelry. And for much of the time that he was secretly committing a variety of crimes, his defense lawyers say he was simultaneously providing information to federal agents and the Broward Sheriff’s Office to help them prosecute other people. Meyer pretended to be other people, faked a Chinese accent and made up an elaborate ruse claiming that his life was in danger to extort and defraud the victim during a four-year period, records show. Meyer, who called himself the “sports consultant to the stars,” claimed he had “the highest documented win percentage in the history of [his] business” and that he had never had a losing season, prosecutors said. He charged as much as $250,000 for his advice and claimed he had an “unheard-of win percentage” of more than 63 percent, they said. He focused his efforts on particularly wealthy victims, pressuring them to bet as much as $500,000 on a single game, authorities said. He victimized one man to an astounding degree, court records show.

New Jersey Gambling Regulator Fines PokerStars for Geolocation Failure

Online poker operator PokerStars had its wrists slapped by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for *failing to prevent out-of-state customers* from gambling on its New Jersey mobile website. The state gambling regulator has announced recently that it had imposed a $25,000 fine on Canadian gambling group Amaya, the owner of the Rational Group, which, in turn, owns PokerStars. The Division has explained that its decision to sanction the operator came after it had been found out that players from outside New Jersey’s borders *had been able to access the online poker website* via their mobile devices. Amaya has not been the only gambling company to have been fined by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for geolocation failure. Last year, gaming software supplier *GAN was imposed a $25,000 fine* for activating software that allowed out-of-state players access offering provided by its client Betfair. It was found out that the activation has occurred inadvertently.

St. Louis Casinos Busted a Russian Crime Ring Targeting Slot Machines

As far as casino heists goes, the one targeting a string of St. Louis casinos in 2014 lacked a certain pizzazz. There were no guards to incapacitate, no vaults to crack and no escapes to be made with exotic European sports cars. Instead, four Russian men simply played the slots in local casinos in St. Louis and the Metro East, as well as casinos in Kansas City and in Temecula, California. What made things a bit more intriguing is that when the Russians played, they /won/, over and over again. When the FBI announced indictments against the four men in December that year, the details of their scam were left hazy. The FBI press release noted that the men had “engaged in a conspiracy to cheat at least ten casinos in Missouri, California, and Illinois through the use of electronic devices,” and that the devices were used to crack a certain a model of slot machine called the Aristocrat Mark VI. Apparently, the devices communicated with a foreign server, and somehow that provided the men with the ability to consistently “predict the behavior” of the slots. In June 2014, according to Koerner, the Lumiere Place Casino noted that several Aristocrat Mark VI slot machines were distributing far more money than expected. Casino security started checking surveillance tape from the days associated with higher-than-usual payouts. U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan tells /Riverfront Times /that it was actually a Missouri State Highway Patrol corporal working for the state’s Gaming Commission who discovered the payout discrepancies and subsequently alerted the casinos. After collecting without incident in June, the man in the video would return to St. Louis that December with his three cohorts. That would prove to be a dire mistake. The four men were spotted by security at the Hollywood Casino and arrested.

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