A Brief Look at Crime 05/15 – 05/21

Gunfire during ‘gambling, drinking’ leaves 1 dead in Birmingham 

A 34-year-old Birmingham man was killed Monday night while gambling and drinking with a group of people in Norwood, police said. Birmingham police on Tuesday identified the victim as Joseph Smith. He lived in Birmingham. Once on the scene, officers found Smith lying on the front porch of a home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to multiple areas of his body. Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service responded to the scene, and Smith was pronounced dead a short time later. Shelton said the preliminary investigation showed that Smith and others were at the home gambling and drinking when an altercation erupted. At some point in the altercation, the Smith was shot. “We’ve had this happen before within similar circumstances, but the reality is it only takes one disagreement for violence to happen,” Shelton said. “We have to resolve our issues without violence and understand a disagreement should not equal death.”

Authorities say woman was strangled to death by her son

During a court hearing Thursday authorities released autopsy results revealing that Kay Raines was strangled to death. Detectives say she was killed at the hands of her own son. The 68-year-old Mobile woman went missing back in January and months later her body was found in a shallow grave in Baldwin County. Her son, Clarke Raines, has been charged with murder and appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. The court hearing provided insight on what led to Clarke’s arrest.When police began tracking Clarke in February they learned that he was using his mother’s credit cards and pawning her items. His activity picked up in March when he returned to the Beau Rivage casino to try to cash in on his mother’s previous winnings. The detective reported that same day, Clarke visited a Home Depot and bought a small shovel and 10 bags of potting soil. It was that same day, Gillepsie said, they went to the location and discovered Kay’s body. He said she was face down and it appeared, at one point, she was hog tied. He said she was wearing the same clothes she was last seen wearing on January 29. Later that night, Clarke was arrested. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said he hasn’t shown any remorse.

Gambling machine company owner pleads guilty to criminal charges in $240 million enterprise

The “principal” owner of Forest Park-based Sudama Resorts LLC, a company
that last week agreed to forfeit $1.6 million in a racketeering and illegal gambling lawsuit, pleaded guilty Monday to criminal charges. Sandip Patel, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of commercial gambling. As part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to one year on house arrest followed by four years on probation. In order to be legal, the games must require an element of skill and cash payouts are prohibited. Winnings can be redeemed for store credit, gas, merchandise or lottery tickets.

Sudama Resorts, the owner of 600 machines placed at 100 locations across the state, self-reported that $15 million was played between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, Cooke said during Patel’s plea hearing Monday in Bibb County Superior Court. During the same period, Sudama reported $12 million was paid in winnings and receiving a $3 million profit, he said.he central computer system reported players played more than $12 million between July 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2015, nearly as much in three months as the company had reported for all of a 12-month period, he said. Winnings for the three months totaled $8 million and profits were recorded at $4 million, Cooke said. In the last five years players have fed $240 million into Sudama machines and been paid $168 million, he said. Cooke said undercover police officers played the machines and received illegal cash payouts at more than a quarter of the locations where Sudama machines were present.

Former Edmond property manager defrauded clients to fund ‘crippling gambling habit’

A former Edmond property manager has been ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in restitution to clients she defrauded to support her “crippling gambling habit.” Angela Renee Reneau, 53, of Cashion, also was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison. She previously pleaded guilty in Oklahoma City federal court to wire fraud and failure to file an income tax return. “In many ways, gambling ruined Ms. Reneau’s life. In the same way, when Ms. Reneau’s crimes were exposed, she started on the road to recovery andredemption,”defense attorney Robert Wyatt wrote in a court document. The defense attorney noted that Reneau developed a gambling habit in her late 40s and “became hopelessly addicted.” When the addiction was in “full swing,” Reneau began taking money from her clients’ accounts, “always with the intention of paying the money back,” the defense attorney wrote. But Reneau dug herself in a hole and “she could not dig herself out,” the defense attorney wrote. “She lost her home, her family, her job and her dignity.”

New York man wins $160.5M in lawsuit against Vegas casino

A former New York hedge fund manager has won $160.5 million in his lawsuit against the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the verdict in David Moradi’s lawsuit came this week. His 2014 lawsuit claimed he suffered a traumatic brain injury after Marquee nightclub security guards and manager shoved him to the ground. A Las Vegas neurosurgeon diagnosed his injuries. Defense attorneys say the dispute arose after Moradi reacted aggressively when the general manager told him there was a problem with his signature. They claim that Moradi did not suffer injury or permanent damage during the encounter. Moradi says his hedge fund had to be shut down and he has not found work in the field since.

Feds seek 9 properties, $230K from Beaumont car dealer accused of illegal gambling 

The federal government is seeking nine properties around Southeast Texas and more than $230,000 in cash from Beaumont car dealer Larry Tillery on accusations he’s operated “an illegal gambling and money laundering enterprise,” according to civil asset forfeiture documents obtained by KFDM/6 News on Fox. Among the list of properties is the Daylight Motors dealership on the Eastex Freeway, which last month we reported was being searched by the Department of Homeland Security. According to court documents, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations started looking into “the bookmaking and money laundering activities of (Tillery) and his associates” in April 2014. Homeland Security joined the investigation that July. The investigation included wiretaps and confidential informants. It also included searching the contents of collected garbage at his office and home. There are also allegations of tax evasion. “To date, the investigation has found that (Tillery) is operating illegal sports betting operation with bettors located nationwide,” the April 5 court document states. “The investigation has also found evidence that (Tillery) is evading taxes associated with his gambling activities.” The documents indicate about $5.3 million in wagers from 24 betters were recorded in intercepted calls from September 2015 through December 2016.

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

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