Wanda Imber, who was sentenced to house arrest in May 2016 after a jury found her guilty of stealing about $1.8 million from her elderly stepfather, is about to lose her freedom. An appellate court has ruled that Circuit Judge J. Dale Durrance erred when he departed from state sentencing guidelines and sentenced her to community control, sidestepping prison. The 2nd District Court of Appeal has ordered that she be given a guidelines sentence, which calls for a minimum 25 years in state prison. Court testimony showed she’d written 466 checks, totaling $1.76 million, to herself from Adams’ personal checking account between 2007 and 2014. The missing funds came to light in 2014 when Adams’ son, Alan, discovered irregularities in the account of Landmark Investments, a family-owned business in Winter Haven, triggering audits of his father’s financial accounts. During her trial, prosecutors said she had spent more than $1 million on credit cards and at least $500,000 more gambling.
With documented losses well into the six figures, Illinois State Police continue to investigate a theft case that already has resulted in a prison sentence. Coliene Moore, 69, was hit with a restitution order exceeding $636,000 when Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz sentenced her last month to four years for stealing from her elderly aunt. Ruth Lanier, now deceased, was 85 when Moore stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from her during a three-month period that ended in February of 2012. Authorities say that Moore also stole nearly $82,000 from her mother, Mary Catherine Dormire, who was in her 90s when her daughter, her mother’s caretaker, raided bank accounts. Dormire is now deceased. “Make no mistake, this is a callous, cold, calculating elder abuse crime spree,” Belz said when he sentenced Moore on Aug. 15. “Money was taken in astronomical, almost unbelievable amounts from people who didn’t deserve it.” Moore’s husband filed for divorce on Sept. 13, telling the court that he had no idea that his wife was in legal trouble or had stolen money until she was arrested at Memorial Medical Center in August, two days after going to the hospital with complaints of a blood clot instead of going to court, where she was due to be sentenced. The no-show prompted Judge Belz to issue an arrest warrant. In his divorce petition, Jeffrey Moore says he believes that his wife might have a gambling problem.
The U.S. Coast Guard plans to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Victory I gambling ship remaining in Port Canaveral during Hurricane Irma, despite an order for the ship to leave the port in advance of the storm. Port Canaveral closed before the storm, and there was an order in effect that ships such as the Victory I were supposed be out of the port. Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said most owners made sure their vessels either left the area or were stored on land, as required during Hurricane Irma. But some didn’t. Murray said the Victory I gambling ship and 14 smaller recreational boats remained in the port’s waters during the storm. Murray said having the gambling ship in port during Irma “could have caused catastrophic damage” at the port if it had managed to break free. “Neither the port nor the Coast Guard wanted that boat in port” during Irma, Murray said.
In late August, at a Vancouver conference attended by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials, RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward outlined the details of E-Pirate, the investigation into Silver International, Asian organized crime groups, and an alleged $500-million-plus international money laundering service run from Richmond. Central to the money laundering probe, allege B.C. government documents, is suspect Paul King Jin, a 50-year-old Richmond spa owner. BCLC and B.C. gaming policy enforcement branch documents say that information revealed by the RCMP’s investigation into Jin and Silver led them to suspect the funds are tied to “transnational drug trafficking … (that) could have a potentially devastating impact on the casino industry.”
Jin allegedly helped ultra-wealthy Mainland China “whale” gamblers, recruited in Macau, to gamble in B.C., the investigation documents allege. The Macau whales were able to gamble with suspected drug cash supplied by Jin’s network, especially at River Rock Casino, the investigation documents allege. With those funds borrowed from Jin and “private lenders,” they were not only able to gamble, but to develop real estate in B.C. Without naming names, a paragraph in the confidential MNP LLP audit of B.C. Lottery Corp. that the attorney general released last week describes underground banking channels that allowed “Chinese nationals” to evade China’s tight capital controls and transfer wealth into B.C. Investigators learned the Chinese whale gamblers were “provided with a contact in Vancouver, either locally or prior to arriving in Vancouver,” the MNP report says. Next, the gamblers would “contact the person via phone for cash delivery,” which they use to buy chips at a casino. The gamblers would repay these funds “through cash holdings in China.” When the gamblers cash out, they are left with money available for use in Canada.
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.
An RCMP investigation into underground banking and alleged laundering of drug cash in B.C. casinos revealed suspicions of “terrorist financing,” a B.C. government document obtained by Postmedia alleges. The suspected “terrorist financing” link is alleged in a confidential “Section 86” report filed in July 2015 by B.C. Lottery Corp. to B.C.’s gaming enforcement branch, which is an arm of B.C.’s Ministry of Finance. This report, which was filed to the gaming enforcement branch’s director of compliance, Len Meilleur, says that Meilleur had also spoken to the RCMP’s Chrustie about “troubling information … involving casinos.” “As a result of that conversation (gaming enforcement branch assistant deputy minister) John Mazure had been briefed and that likely (then-B.C. finance minister) Mike de Jong would also be briefed,” the report says. B.C. Lottery Corp. was asked to respond to details in the July 2015 Section 86 report. “Regarding your request for comment related to the Section 86 report, it is public knowledge that there are at least two active police investigations underway related to allegations of illegal gambling and money laundering,” a BCLC spokesman said in an email. “Since these investigations are underway, we are not in a position to provide comment.”
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