A Brief Look at Crime 04/17 – 04/23

London attack: Terrorist was in debt from playing lottery scratchcards

Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood racked up debts feeding an addiction to Lotto scratchcards. The jihadist, 52, was struggling to pay off two payday loans when he was shot dead outside Parliament. He was also behind with his taxes and had struck a deal to cough up £100 ($125) a month. But he was so hooked on scratchcards he continued to blow a fortune on them, an ex-flatmate in Birmingham revealed. Masood, whose car and gun rampage last month killed five, also continually nipped to the supermarket for booze. Raviyar Sadiqi, who runs the store, said: “He bought scratchcards — a lot of them — and smelt of alcohol.” The killer’s former flatmate confirmed: “He had a problem with gambling and booze.

21 charged in casino-based money laundering scheme

Federal authorities are moving to dismantle what they describe as a multistate, multimillion-dollar money laundering operation with the indictments of 21 people accused of using counterfeit cards and stolen account numbers for cash withdrawals and retail purchases at casinos and luxury stores. The case is the latest in an FBI crackdown on money laundering in Las Vegas, but the alleged criminal behavior extended far beyond city borders, according to the 47-count indictment unsealed last month in federal court. Eleven of the defendants are in custody, being held on money laundering and related charges, and 10 are fugitives. Authorities say the scheme lasted from 2013 until the arrests, which occurred earlier this year in several states across the country. Prosecutors are seeking upward of $6 million in forfeiture — a response, they say, to fraudulent proceeds obtained through the use of counterfeit cards and “card skimming” technology. The indictment details a lavish lifestyle enjoyed by those charged in the conspiracy, and legal filings reveal that Las Vegas served as the operation’s home base.

Tax preparer pleaded guilty to filing false returns 

A Gulfport woman has admitted to filling false returns with the IRS and then using the money to gamble at casinos. News outlets report 65-year-old Doris Kelley, who was a tax preparer, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to obstructing the IRS and filing false returns, causing the government an almost $500,000 loss. Officials say Kelley used the money to gamble at coast casinos. According to a release, Kelley provided copies of accurate returns to her clients, but did not file the returns with the IRS. The release says in some cases she filed returns in clients’ names without their knowledge. Kelley faces a maximum of three years in prison on both counts. She also could face supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties as part of her sentence.

KY construction employees sentenced to 3-year prison term for $2M fraud scheme 

Two former employees of a Louisville, KY, construction and engineering firm were sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling approximately $2 million from the company and stealing government funds, according to WHAS 11. Prosecutors said Frank Burks Jr. and Pamela Duvall defrauded RAM Engineering and Construction by writing themselves unauthorized checks and exploiting Duvall’s position as bookkeeper. The two also misstated a portion of Burks’ income as nontaxable, which resulted in an overpayment from the Social Security Administration of more than $11,000. Burks and Duvall reportedly carried out their scheme over a period of 13 years in order to pay for their own business undertakings and gambling habits.

Woman to change plea in $3 million fraud case 

Thy Minh Phan is charged in federal court with Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Money Laundering. To entice the victim into loaning them to the money, Phan and Van said they would pay interest on the money that was given to them, record show. However, investigators learned that Phan and Van used the victim’s money to gamble at casinos in Las Vegas. Phan and Van spent about $2.5 million at casinos. Records show that Van acted as if his financial circumstances were so dire that he was thinking about suicide, according to the indictment.

Two dead, one hurt after DeKalb County shooting 

Two men are dead and another was hurt after a shooting that DeKalb County police believe is the result of a murder-suicide. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports police found evidence of gambling in a garage and also discovered the bodies of a 28-year-old and a 35-year-old late Friday. Maj. Stephen Fore, spokesman for DeKalb Police, said Saturday that it appears the younger man shot the older man and then shot himself. Fore says a 25-year-old man, who was shot in the leg, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in stable condition. A preliminary investigation shows a fight over money started between the two dead men, whose names are being withheld pending notification of relatives.

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