A Brief Look at Crime 08/14 – 08/20

Gambling Addict Bludgeons Man With Hammer, Chopped Up Body Receives 22 Years Prison

An cold-blooded killer who bludgeoned a man with a hammer then chopped his body into pieces after the victim refused to give him a $100 loan to fuel his gambling addiction will now be spending 22 years in prison. David Napier of Calista, Western Australia killed his 70-year-old best friend, Richard Andrews. After the murder last August Napier also stole $2,000 in cash from Mr. Andrews. After the murder, Napier cleaned the property with bleach and sugar soap, and told neighbours he had gone on a holiday to Albany. The 53-year-old was swimming in $20,000 in gambling debts. He had previously borrowed thousands of dollars from Mr Andrews. Justice Bruno Fiannaca said the way Napier desecrated the body was calculated and ghastly, and described his behaviour as monstrous, callously concealed with an elaborate facade. ‘He was always someone who had shown you kindness,’ the judge said. ‘He was your only real friend. ‘You denied him dignity in death and you profited. ‘To ordinary, decent members of the community, your crimes would defy comprehension.’

‘We are coming for you’ says sheriff in wake of internet cafe bust

Sheriff’s Office shut down the Hot Spot Internet Cafe after serving a search warrant Tuesday morning in Ormond Beach. “This place walks like a duck, quacks like a duck (and) swims like a duck,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “It’s a duck. It’s gambling.” Deputies confiscated dozens of games and thousands of dollars in cash. “They are parasites,” Chitwood said. “If you look at who their customers are, their customers are mostly elderly folks on a fixed income.” Chitwood said during a two-month undercover investigation, the Sheriff’s Office tracked $600,000 in just two months, and he believes the money was funneled to North Carolina. “This is a business that’s not regulated,” Chitwood said. “They’re not paying business tax. There’s not a fire marshal — no building code, nothing.” The sheriff said deputies will be serving cease and desist letters to other internet cafe operators in Volusia County. “We are coming for you,” Chitwood said. “The ball is already started. We’re coming out there. We’re going to make an arrest (and) seize your property under those Florida statutes.”

Methadone clinic operator gets prison for health care fraud

A defense attorney and a courtroom full of supporters depicted a woman who ran a methadone clinic for 20 years as a cross between a den mother and an angel of mercy to southwestern Pennsylvania’s growing population of opioid addicts, but a federal prosecutor countered that she was a “greedy” businesswoman who defrauded Medicaid to feed a gambling habit. The judge sentenced Rosalind Sugarmann, 62, to a year and a day in federal prison for her December guilty plea to health care fraud and illegally distributing the drug Suboxone, which can be used to wean addicts off heroin. In doing so, the judge rejected Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaun Sweeney’s request for at least 2 1/2 years in prison and defense attorney Efrem Grail ‘s arguments for probation. Sugarmann’s husband has twice filed for personal bankruptcy and Sugarmann once in recent years. Both also have tax liabilities and “substantial gambling losses” from 2009 to 2013, including more than $2 million in one year, Sweeney told the judge.

Gambler ensnared in Mohegan Sun scheme ‘succumbed to temptation’

Seduced by the bright lights and allure of the new casino in town, Mark Heltzel gave in to temptation, first snubbing his wife and daughters before turning his disregard to the law, court documents filed Monday said. The former skilled financial planner gambled away his home life and ultimately agreed to participate in a criminal scheme that defrauded Mohegan Sun Pocono out of more than $420,000, according to a memorandum filed ahead of Heltzel’s sentencing Friday in federal court. Fannick cited a pre-sentence report that said Heltzel’s alcohol abuse and “self-described gambling addiction” escalated as he began making daily trips to the casino to play blackjack. As Heltzel spent more time at the casino, he was no longer the devoted family man who would sooth Emily’s cold with Chinese noodles, or help Alex recover on the couch with the help of a “Lizzie McGuire” marathon, his wife wrote. “Soon, Mark found a new purpose,” she wrote. “Slowly, as he grew in popularity in this flashy establishment, he waned in popularity at home. Relationships began crumbling around him. Finally, one cold day in January 2016, our lives, already cracked at the seams, simply shattered (when Heltzel was charged).”

Man shot by trooper at St. Louis casino sentenced to prison

A suburban St. Louis man who was shot by a Missouri state trooper in a casino’s garage was sentenced to seven years in prison for charges arising from the confrontation. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 29-year-old Javon Burton, of Vinita Park, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday for resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon. Court records say a trooper responding to a call of an assault in November 2015 at the Lumière Place was told someone was driving through the parking garage with a woman on the hood of his car. The records say when the trooper ordered Burton to get out of his car, Burton accelerated toward the trooper, who shot him. A search found methamphetamine and a loaded handgun in Burton’s car.

5 Plead Guilty in Multi-State Dog Fighting Op

According to court documents filed in connection with the cases, from October 2015 through June 1, 2016, the pleading defendants and their co-defendants and associates fought dogs – including to the death – and trafficked in dogs with other dog fighters in Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, and elsewhere so that those dogs could be used in dog fights. They also maintained fighting dogs and dog fighting equipment such as dog treadmills, intravenous drug bags and lines, “breeding stands” used to immobilize female dogs, and chains weighing up to several pounds per linear foot. Agents found canine blood on the floor, walls, and ceiling of the basement of one defendant’s residence, indicating that the area was likely used as a dog fighting pit. “This office, along with our law enforcement partners and the Humane Society, is working to end this illegal activity and punish those who abuse animals for their own enjoyment.” “The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act were designed to protect animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, which often entail other forms of criminal activity involving drugs, firearms and gambling,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General.

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

 

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