A Brief Look at Crime 08/07 – 08/13

Two people arrested in connection to Jacksonville murders

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has announced the murder arrest of two people Wednesday. Police say the first shooting occurred on July 9 at around 9:30 pm. At the time, police were patrolling the area of Monica Drive and discovered a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot. When they approached the vehicle they discovered a 21-year-old Richard Green dead in a car. Homicide detectives responded and during their investigation, they learned Green was shot and killed in what police call a “drug deal gone bad.” As a result of their investigation, 20-year-old Patrick Steadman was arrested in connection with the murder. Police said the second murder happened back on June 4, where they discovered 22-year-old Kenard Hendley suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Police say the victim was transported to the hospital and later died from his injuries, Police later learned the victim and several other people were inside a home gambling when the shooting occurred. According to police, Anthony Finch got upset that the victim was winning and shot him in the back as he was trying to leave the home.

Charity worker facing jail after admitting she stole £350,000 from British Red Cross to fund online gambling addiction

A CROOKED finance worker embezzled over £350,000 from the British Red Cross – under the guise of sending money to former delegates and staff. Mary Booth was “a trusted and valued” British Red Cross employee for 34 years and initially worked at the charity’s headquarters in London. She earned £45,000-per-year and retired with a full pension and lump sum after working at the charity’s Scottish headquarters in Paisley, Renfrewshire. But the seemingly trustworthy 56-year-old siphoned £359,551.27 from the charity’s accounts, which she paid in to her own bank accounts. She claims she scammed the charity – which helps needy souls across the world – so she could continue to fund her online gambling habit after splitting from her husband. And she is now facing jail and may have to sell her £350,000 home to pay back the money.

Tampa man sentenced to federal prison for embezzling nearly $850,000

A Tampa man has been arrested and sentenced to four years in federal prison after he embezzled nearly $850,000. U.S. District Judge [the suspect] to four years in federal prison for wire fraud. The Court also ordered him to forfeit the $848,136.04, which is traceable to proceeds of the crime and to pay restitution to his victims. According to testimony and court documents, Wheeler, a bookkeeper, embezzled from six different employers over the course of 15 years. He diverted nearly $850,000 from his various employers to bank accounts under his control. He subverted the internal controls of the companies to ultimately direct payments to himself. He also registered a number of fictitious names to conceal the diversions. Wheeler used most of the money for online gambling, a release from the United States Department of Justice stated.

Jeweler accused of $5M fraud scheme, using fake invoices

A Connecticut man has been charged in what federal authorities say is a $5 million fraud scheme using his Rhode Island jewelry store. Gerald Kent 51, of Groton, Connecticut, was ordered detained Thursday on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Providence. Kent owns Kent Jewelry in Johnston, Rhode Island, which sells jewelry online using flash sale websites, such as Groupon and Zulily. Prosecutors said Kent struck a deal with a firm that buys unpaid invoices at a discount in return for cash, prosecutors said. But Kent sold that company fraudulent invoices, netting himself $3.6 million, they said. Kent’s lawyer would not comment on the charges after the hearing. Kent is scheduled to appear back in court July 26 for a detention hearing. Prosecutors told the federal judge overseeing the case that Kent is a prolific gambler and was arrested Wednesday at Foxwoods casino. They said casino records show Kent has visited Foxwoods 116 times this year alone and has gambled $43 million there during his life.

Trial set for tax collector accused of stealing from town

A Massachusetts town’s former tax collector, indicted nearly four years ago on charges that she stole more than $300,000 of the town’s money to sustain a gambling habit, faces trial this fall. The Telegram & Gazette reports that former Barre tax collector Marcia Langelier is scheduled go on trial Oct. 30. She has pleaded not guilty to charges including larceny and embezzlement. Prosecutors say she stole money from 2005 into 2011 while serving in the elected position. At her 2013 arraignment, prosecutors said she had accrued gambling losses of $350,000. Independent auditors had previously warned town officials that practices in the tax collector’s office could conceal “irregularities.”

Ex-Jazzercise employee sentenced in $1 million embezzlement

The former finance director of Jazzercise was sentenced Tuesday to more than seven years in prison for embezzling what authorities say was upwards of $1 million from the Carlsbad-based company and its owners, possibly to feed a gambling habit. Sherri O. Potts — who spent nearly nine years as the corporate director of finance for the physical-fitness firm — was arrested in Carlsbad in October on 50 theft-related charges, including forgery, fraudulent appropriation and grand theft by an employee. She pleaded guilty in March to one count of grand theft, three counts of forgery and one count of failing to report the stolen money on her tax returns. She also admitted that she stole more than $500,000. Superior Court Judge Michael Washington sentenced the 60-year-old Fallbrook resident to seven years, eight months in prison.

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