A Brief Look at Crime 09/04 – 09/10

SCV suspect arrested in online gambling raid pleads guilty

New York prosecutors are whittling away at the list of Santa Clarita Valley men arrested in a massive joint forces series of raids carried out almost two years ago in connection with an illegal $32 million nationwide sports betting ring, The five local men were among 17 suspects across the country indicted Oct. 28, 2015, by a Queens County grand jury on charges of unlawfully operating a highly sophisticated sports gambling enterprise that stretched from New York to California and used offshore-based gambling websites. According to the grand jury indictment, the online gambling enterprise, which is alleged to have booked more than $32 million in bets annually, is also accused of laundering its criminal proceeds by depositing and withdrawing large sums of cash from various banks throughout the United States. Members of a multi-agency police operation led by New York Police Department investigators surrounded a Saugus home Oct. 28 and arrested Irani, alleged to be the ring’s kingpin, law enforcement officials said.

Wedding planner conned dozens of couples out of £130k to feed gambling addiction

A wedding planner conned dozens of couples out of £130,000 to feed his gambling addiction and then jetted off to a holiday in Ibiza. Craig Williamson is facing jail after ruining his victims’ dream weddings, who had booked their big day at a grand castle setting. Williamson worked at Guthrie Castle in Angus but he took his victims’ money and failed to record their bookings, the Daily Record reports. As a result, some weddings were double or triple-booked and other couples were left in limbo, not sure whether their big day would go ahead.The castle’s owner, American businessman and multi-millionaire Dan Pena, has paid more than £130,000 from his own pocket to cover refunds and honour bookings taken by the conman. At Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday, gambling addict Williamson, 42, admitted fraud between July 16, 2015, and April last year.

Jack Entertainment fined $200,000 by Ohio Casino Control Commission for Underage Gambling

Jack Entertainment will pay a $200,000 fine to the Ohio Casino Control Commission for allowing underage patrons into the Cleveland casino and giving unauthorized employees access to the computer management program for the Cleveland and Cincinnati casinos. “We acknowledge the significance of the matters identified by the Ohio Casino Control Commission and take our compliance with their important operational policies and procedures seriously,” Matt Cullen, Jack chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have swiftly taken steps to respond to these issues and will continue to work with the Commission to ensure ongoing compliance.” Both issues arose last year after Jack Entertainment took over ownership of the casinos from Caesar’s Entertainment Corp., said commission spokeswoman Jessica Franks. “We found a number of cases where underaged individiuals were allowed on the property,” she said. “We get that you will never have 100 percent compliance in keeping out minors and the Cleveland casino has unique features,” she said. “But we found that basically the security personnel were not following procedures that are supposed to be followed to screen out individuals.”

Trio embezzled $750K – Probation for former seniors director; casino employee, mother await sentencing

Three Atmore women recently entered guilty pleas in two separate federal court cases to charges they collectively embezzled more than $750,000 from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. According to a press release issued by Steve Butler, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, 54-year-old Carolyn Dortch was sentenced on August 4 to serve five years on probation for using her former position to steal tribal money. Court documents show that Dortch was employed as Poarch’s senior services director from around 2010 until October 2016. She was in charge of the tribe’s Seniors Active in Learning (SAIL) Center, which provided numerous activities for seniors such as meals on wheels, games, crafts and outings. The Atmore woman was responsible for purchasing food and supplies and for handling tribal money on senior trips. In October 2016, tribal accountants discovered that Dortch had been apparently “misusing her position of employment and submitting falsified receipts representing fictitious purchases.” Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took over the probe and discovered that over a six-year period Dortch had embezzled more than a half-million dollars from the tribe and used the money for personal gain.

Gambling addict who defrauded company out of £1.7m ordered to pay almost £800k

An online gambling addict has been ordered to repay almost £800,000 after defrauding her employers of more than £1.7 million. Tracey Stevenson, 54, from Arlington Way, Thetford, Norfolk, was instructed to pay back £786,766.38 to refurbishment contractors Ecsec Ltd in Newmarket. Stevenson had been found guilty of fraud at Cambridge Crown Court in July last year, but the same court had a confiscation proceeding on Friday, August 11 and determined that amount. Stevenson had fraudulently diverted in excess of £1.7 million from the company’s bank accounts, which she used to buy two houses in the UK and one in Spain, as well as fund an addiction to online gambling. She committed these crimes between 2011 and 2016. Her criminal activity was uncovered after Ecsec Ltd suffered from cash flow problems in January and launched an investigation, which caused Stevenson to go on sick leave. The account manager’s lies were uncovered however, when her husband discovered a suicide note that confessed the crimes. He later told the company bosses.

NM woman pleads guilty to stealing $400K for child care meal money

Capitan woman pleaded guilty last week to embezzling $400,000 in federal money meant to reimburse child care centers for meals provided to kids. Gina McPherson, 50, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after admitting she stole the funds while working as the manager of the day care center for employees’ kids at the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort near Ruidoso. According to a criminal complaint against her, McPherson tried to deny she stole the money but ultimately admitted to an FBI agent that she took it to pay for her gambling addiction. “McPherson acknowledged having a gambling problem and stated, ‘I felt like I gave them back everything I took from them … gambling it back,’ referring to gambling losses McPherson incurred at (the resort) and other Native American casinos,” FBI agent Lisa Kite Hill wrote in the complaint.

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

 

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