A Brief Look at Crime 06/05 – 06/11

Val Verde illegal cockfighting ring bust largest in US history

The largest illegal cockfighting ring bust was conducted in northern Los Angeles County on Monday, according to authorities.Most of the birds recovered from the property, which officials said was in a large remote area in a canyon, were commonly used for cockfighting. Approximately 100 deputies raided the property and found mobile cockfighting rings, syringes, steroids and “slasher” weapons, which were strapped to a rooster’s claws during a fight. “The knife-style of fighting are particularly bloody,” Eric Sakach with the Humane Society of the United States said. “The bird is being repeatedly stabbed to the chest area. It’s not unusual to hear a bird to start to vomit up or regurgitate blood. Detectives said their investigation was ongoing and more arrests were anticipated in the future. Authorities said cockfighting was closely associated with Mexican drug cartels and could lead to more crimes such as illegal gambling and the sale of illegal drugs and weapons.

St. Louis robbery victim pulls gun, shoots robber in butt

A man pumping gas Wednesday morning turned the tables on a would-be robber. Police say the man was at the Phillips 66 station at 4500 North Broadway at about 7 a.m. A dark-colored car pulled up and a man jumped out of the passenger seat. He tried to rob the victim. But the victim has his own gun and pulled it on the would-be robber, shooting him in the buttocks. Freeman said the suspect, a man in his 20s, was stable. His accomplice, the driver, got away. Police say the duo is suspected in a holdup an hour earlier at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights. In that robbery, two men drove into the parking garage in a dark-colored car. One of them approached a man who was leaving the casino and tried to rob him at gunpoint in a parking garage, police say. But the victim in that case had just lost big at the casino. “They tried to rob him but he was broke. He literally had $2,” Maryland Heights Police Officer Mark Fedak.

Financial Supervisor addicted to Online Gambling jailed for stealing £680,000

Anjna Aggarwal, a financial supervisor has been jailed for stealing £680,000 from her bosses’. She used the money to feed her online gambling addiction. She pleaded guilty to fraud, false accounting, and money laundering. As a result, she received a four-year jail sentence. 37-year-old Aggarwal began her scheme in 2014 while working for Alpha LSG, an airline catering company. She secretly stole £680,000 from her bosses’ while she worked as a financial supervisor for them. The fraudster created 12 separate bank accounts to store the money and would often switch them around. Prosecutor Lisa Brookes explained how Aggarwal carried out her scheme. She said: “She created false documents and invoices and 83% of the false transactions was for British Airways in which she falsified documents and payment requirements.” The financial supervisor used the money to participate in online casinos. The steady flow of money even earned her a ‘VIP’ status on these gambling websites.

2 Cherry Hill men admit $2.5 million Medicaid fraud in Camden

Two men have admitted in federal court to Medicaid fraud totaling $2.5 million while working at a nonprofit that provides mental health services to Camden’s poorest residents, prosecutors said Friday. Cesar Tavera, 53, of Cherry Hill, embezzled more than $1.5 million while serving as executive director of Nueva Vida Behavioral Health Center of New Jersey and spent the money on his family and himself, including gambling sprees at SugarHouse Casino. In 2015 alone, Tavera withdrew $35,000 from the nonprofit’s bank account while at the casino. Tavera pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden to conspiracy to commit health-care fraud and embezzling from a health-care program. Tavera and Ayala, also of Cherry Hill, routinely submitted false billings to Medicaid for services not rendered, prosecutors said. Tavera also billed for therapy sessions provided by unqualified individuals, including himself.

79-year-old woman sentenced for embezzling $1.2 million from employer, using it to gamble

Annie Carbullido didn’t just steal $1.2 million from the family-owned travel agency where she worked for nearly 15 years. The 79-year-old gambling addict deprived Bernard Wraith and his wife of the ability to retire the way they hoped, Wraith said. “I’m in my 70s. It’s doubtful that my wife and I will ever recover,” Wraith said in court Thursday. The Wraiths own the Travel Faire agency, and setting aside money to enjoy old age had been their plan. Carbullido stole the money over the course of her employment at the Omaha-based travel agency and blew it at casinos, investigators have said. On Thursday, District Court Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf sentenced Carbullido to five to seven years in prison. Carbullido apologized to her own children, saying she had “disgraced” them. She also apologized to her former employers. “I really did not mean to cause any harm,” she said, adding that, if possible, she would like to get another job and pay them back. “I am really sorry, and I beg their forgiveness,” she said.

Leader of Iowa School Meals Group Embezzled for Years

The former executive director of an Iowa nonprofit that promotes healthy, affordable school meals allegedly embezzled at least $169,000 over a 5-year period. A state audit report released Thursday says Norma LaMantia admitted to depositing checks meant for the School Nutrition Association of Iowa in personal bank accounts. LaMantia told auditors and a Davenport police detective last month that the money helped pay her personal expenses and support her addiction to casino gambling. The checks came from school districts and food companies to pay fees associated with association events.

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

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