A Brief Look at Crime 10/16 – 10/22

Las Vegas shooting: At least 50 dead in massacre Trump calls ‘act of pure evil’

A gunman turned a Las Vegas concert into a killing field Sunday night from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, using at least 10 guns to rain down a steady stream of fire, murdering at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. The suspect, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada. Police initially sought a woman believed to be Paddock’s roommate, Marilou Danley, as a “person of interest.” Detectives later made contact with her, and “do not believe she is involved with the shooting on The Strip.” President Trump said the mass shooting “was an act of pure evil,” and praised first responders in an address to the nation. “To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you,” Trump said, adding that he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and families.

Did gambling debts drive Las Vegas gunman to madness?

Police investigating Stephen Paddock’s murder spree in Las Vegas on Sunday face a perplexing question: What drove this seemingly ordinary ex-accountant to kill 59 people and injure 527 more? With no criminal convictions – or even parking tickets – to his name, no history of mental illness and no clear political or religious affiliations, Paddock seems like an ordinary, quietly prosperous real estate speculator. But he did have one dark side: A gambling obsession that saw him splashing tens of thousands of dollars in Vegas casinos in the weeks before his murder-suicide spree. Could this have driven Paddock to madness and ultimately murder?

Eric didn’t know whether his brother was suffering financial issues or had gambling debts and speculated that he could lose $1 million and still have enough to live on. Paddock also had two planes registered to his name. But in the weeks before his meticulously planned and terrifying attack, Paddock had gambled more than $10,000 a day – sometimes even more than $30,000 – in Las Vegas casinos. That information came from someone who had seen Paddock’s Multiple Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) and a casino gaming executive, NBC reported.

Local woman stole millions from business to gamble

A 65-year-old woman embezzled more than two million dollars and spent it gambling. Charlotte Pottorff pleaded guilty to two counts of felony embezzlement, one count of perjury and one count of felony tax evasion in Bonneville County court on Sept. 11. Pottorff began working as a bookkeeper for Val Erickson, the owner of Dura-Bilt, Dura-Bilt Transmission and A&D Investments, in 1999. According to court documents, Erickson suspects the embezzlement began when she started working for him. According to court documents, Pottorff covered her tracks by making purchases for the company at a higher price than the items’ actual cost. She would then issue herself a check for the difference. She would issue these checks directly to herself or to bank accounts believed to be hers. She was the only one who had control over issuing checks and balancing the business’ accounts. According to court documents, Erickson discovered the theft after Pottorff retired from working for him. Erickson hired Fraud Examiner Daniel Packard to conduct a forensic audit of his business accounts. According to court documents, Packard determined an approximate $2,325,504.89 was misappropriated between the years of 2006 to 2017.

Ex-cashier hopes judge OKs 7½ years in prison on $13M theft

A woman convicted of stealing nearly $13 million from a Pittsburgh monuments and engraving firm is hoping a federal judge will approve a plea deal that calls for her to serve 7½ years in prison. Cynthia Mills pleaded guilty in March to mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion and money laundering for taking the money from Matthews International Corp. from 1999 to 2015. She was the company’s cashier. The Robinson Township woman has agreed to forfeit three homes, a yacht and two other boats, at least eight cars, and other items bought with the money, though her attorney, Phil DiLucente, has said she blew most of the money on casino gambling. Mill is also expected to pay back whatever debts can’t be covered by the asset forfeitures.

Illegal gambling, not robbery, led to deadly Jefferson County shooting, deputies say

A 66-year-old Jefferson County man is charged with capital murder in a deadly shooting at his business that he initially claimed was self-defense during a robbery. The shooting happened about 10 a.m. on July 3 at Black Diamond Paving on Old Jasper Highway. The business, which was officially closed that Monday, is in the Bagley community. Chief Deputy Randy Christian on Thursday said over the course of the investigation, detectives discovered evidence that indicated Rhode’s claim of an attempted robbery was false. Detectives learned that Rhodes was running an illegal gambling establishment at the business, and that two weeks prior to the shooting, the business had been robbed at gunpoint by two men in a gold car. On the day of the shooting, Cole and his friend went to the business to gamble, Christian said. They never made it to the building because they thought they were at the wrong place.

Fugitive accused of stealing to pay for gambling debt

The District Attorney’s Office is looking for a man who they say let a gambling habit get so far out of control that he ended up committing nearly three dozen felonies. Stephen Chitren is wanted on 33 counts of theft. Between 2012 and 2015, District Attorney Steve Wolfson says he ripped off United Blood Services to the tune of $128,000 with company-issued credit cards. “He was going down to a couple of local bars, the Copper Keg and the Tap House, and he was using these credit cards to get cash advances in amounts from $100 anywhere up to $600,” Wolfson explained. According to Wolfson, it all began with a gambling problem. Chitren got so deep, he started stealing from a company where he’d worked for 20 years. 

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