Daily Archives: November 27, 2017

A Brief Look at Crime 11/13 – 11/19

‘Property Wars’ star agrees to $2M, jail time deal in Phoenix fraud case

A former “Property Wars” star agreed to a plea deal in a Phoenix fraud case Tuesday that will see him pay $2 million in restitution and serve at least a decade behind bars. “[Scott Menaged] pleaded guilty to three charges: Conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering conspiracy,” IRS Special Agent Brian Watson said. In May, Menaged pleaded not guilty in the case. According to the plea agreement, Menaged and three others obtained more than 2,700 loans between June 2013 and January 2016 worth more than $730 million. Menaged pleaded guilty to embezzling $34 million of that for personal expenses, car payments, Las Vegas trips, gambling and large transfers of funds to friends and family. “It was basically a scheme where they obtaining loans that they weren’t entitled to, using the names of deceased individuals, to get those loans,” Watson said.

Financial advisor conned elderly people out of over £800,000

A man has been sentenced to 40 months in prison after he conned elderly people out of a total of £844,010 to fund his gambling addiction. Mark Pickering, of Rowley Close in Swadlincote, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court today (Thursday 19 October 2017) having pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud by abuse of position of trust on Monday 14 August. The 50-year-old was working as a self-employed Financial Advisor, when he persuaded eight people to provide him with their savings on the pretence that they would be placed into legitimate investment schemes. But instead, Pickering paid the money into his own account to fund his online gambling addiction. In July 2016, Pickering approached an investment company he was working with and notified them of the theft of funds from his clients. The police investigation that immediately followed, revealed he had lost nearly £1,155,000 through gambling online over a number of years.

Former Southeast Missouri Nursing Home Owner Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling $667,000

The former CEO of Benchmark Healthcare in southeast Missouri’s Festus is heading to federal prison, for embezzling $667,000 in Medicaid funds. Johnnie Mac Sells was sentenced on Friday to pay back the money he pocketed, and also to serve 41 months in prison, the maximum sentence allowed under federal law. Sells admitted to spending $185,000 of the Medicaid funds at gentlemen’s clubs, $15,000 on pet care, $4,500 at casinos and $12,000 in country club fees between 2014-15. Due to Sells embezzlement, Benchmark went without money to spend on food and other supplies for their residents. The meals residents were given included a clear bowl of broth and a cookie. The facility lost Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, and shut down in 2016. Cells attorney requested a lesser sentence, but it was denied.

Farmington woman pleads guilty to running illegal gambling ring

A Farmington, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court here Wednesday to running an illegal gambling ring and money laundering. Carol Jean Hazer, 60, admitted she ran an illegal “high stakes” sports betting operation and filed fraudulent tax returns to hide the nearly $500,000 she made from the gambling ring, prosecutors said. Hazer used some of the money to buy a house and a car, prosecutors said. She faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. A district court judge will determine Hazer’s sentence Jan. 17. The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS.

3 charged in gruesome alleged Long Island dog fighting operation

Three people are now charged following a crackdown of what authorities are describing as a barbaric dog fighting ring on Long Island. Authorities say the pit bulls were bred and kept in deplorable conditions while being trained to fight to the death, all for the profit of their owners. Investigators describe it as a sickening yet sophisticated training operation, and three men from Wyandanch are facing multiple felony counts related to animal cruelty. The suspects were identified as 34-year-old Richard Davis, 49-year-old Martin Newkirk and 26-year-old Taikeem Wheeler. Authorities say 36 dogs were rescued, half of them puppies including one that was only a week old. Three of the dogs had to be euthanized. Schneiderman also said that the dogs were given performance enhancers, were tethered at times, and were forced to wear weighted vests and run on treadmills to become stronger and tougher. According to Schneiderman, it is estimated that at least 40,000 people are involved with dog fighting across the country. The illegal gambling from dog fighting can earn organizers tens of thousands of dollars at a time.

Ex-cop, son admit to roles in $4 million illegal sports-betting scheme

An ex-cop who once spent time in prison for participating in an advertising scheme, has racked up another felony conviction, this time for his role in illegal Internet-based sports gambling rings, which, authorities said, hauled in about $4 million in wagers. Ciro Barone, 68, of West Brighton, has pleaded guilty to a felony count of promoting gambling and a misdemeanor count of conspiracy. His son, Woodrow resident Paul Barone, who was 32 when arrested in January, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempting to promote gambling. Prosecutors said the Barones worked from Jan. 18, 2015, through Jan. 3, 2016, with a co-defendant, Woodrow resident Robert Rossi, who managed bettor accounts from a wire room. Father and son passed out gambling accounts to bettors, while recruiting new clients and collecting wagers and doling out winnings, said an indictment. In a recorded phone conversation on Sept. 5, 2015, Ciro Barone told an unidentified person he received a “commission” of 30 percent if the user of a certain account lost money placing bets, the indictment alleges. 

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