A Brief Look at Crime 12/04 – 12/10

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. Last week, Rossi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempting to promote gambling, and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge. In a separate scheme, Ciro Barone and a co-defendant Francisco Muro, 78, of New Springville, were responsible to recruit new clients, collect money from bettors and distribute winnings, said another indictment.

Waterville off-track betting parlor sues former employee

A former teller at Favorites, the off-track betting parlor in Waterville, is being sued for $696,000 the owner says was stolen over the past 3 ½ years. The lawsuit, filed in the parlor’s name, Pioneer Gaming LLC, alleges that Michael S. Tardiff Sr., 50, of Augusta, embezzled the money between November 2013 and August 2017. John Barnicle, attorney for Pioneer Gaming, filed the civil action in Kennebec County Superior Court in September, and a judge approved an attachment of $696,000 on Tardiff’s property. He said he reviewed closing settlement reports following “significant but unexplained losses at Favorites,” and saw “a huge discrepancy between vouchers sold and vouchers cashed in at the end of (2016)” andcalculated that $232,000 more money was cashed out than taken in.

Woman Who Bilked Oregon Retiree Out of $3M Gets Prison

A manicurist who helped trick an Oregon retiree out of $3 million was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in federal prison. Thy Mihn Phan and her boyfriend led the victim to believe the money collected during a three-year scheme was to help with legal issues and a landscaping business. Instead, they blew almost every penny while enjoying a high-roller lifestyle at Las Vegas casinos, including Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace and MGM Grand. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Bradford said the victim lost everything he saved for retirement. “They didn’t just steal the victim’s money,” Bradford told U.S. District Judge Anna Brown. “They stole his dignity, they stole his happiness.” Prosecutors said Van and Phan sought loans from R.W., saying the landscaping business was struggling to stay afloat. At one point, Van presented his financial problems as so dire he was contemplating suicide. Moreover, the pair said Van needed more money because he was going through a divorce and had legal troubles. They promised to pay him back with interest. Prosecutors said they made some interest payments to keep the scheme going. Mostly, however, the money vanished in a long run of bad gambling luck.

Former Chief Financial Officer Of Insurance Brokerage Company Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement And Tax Evasion

On Friday, United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman announced that the former Chief Financial Officer of Market Finders Insurance Corporation pleaded guilty to tax evasion and embezzling nearly $2,000,000 during a two-year period. 63-year-old Sylvania Rebecca Smith of Louisville, Kentucky was previously charged with one count of wire fraud for devising an embezzlement scheme to acquire funds from her employer. Smith admitted to generating fraudulent loan checks from Market Finders while serving as the company’s CFO. She also admitted to diverting the money into a bank account owned by PBS between July 2013 to April 2015. The defendant created fraudulent insurance financing contracts between Market Finders and clients of PBS Insurance without permission from existing clients. She also attempted to conceal her activities by manipulating records. The defendant admitted that she and her husband used some of the money to fund her husband’s business, as well as to pay for personal expenses and gambling activities.

Hungerford butler stole more than £2million from trusting employers

A SCHEMING butler secretly looted paintings by Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec and more than £2m worth of artefacts belonging to a Hungerford couple. Former soldier Simon Dalton, 54, helped himself to gems and other valuables over a three-year period from the safe of millionaire Maj Christopher Hanbury and his wife Bridget, to feed his gambling addiction. The 73-year-old victim, a former member of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars and an aide to the Sultan of Brunei, is a family friend of Prince Charles. Manchester Crown Court heard how Dalton kept his addiction a secret from the couple, who run a polo stud farm. When the victims enquired about items that were missing from the safe, Dalton would cast doubt on their memories. The truth emerged after the family mentioned to Dalton they would install cameras in the safe – and the butler, who had a grace and favour cottage on the Hanburys’ estate – knew the game was up.

Maine casino campaigns fined record $500k by ethics panel

The Maine ethics commission has levied $500,000 in fines against the four committees behind a referendum that, if approved Nov. 7, would allow a casino in York County. The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices levied the fine Friday. The Portland Press Herald reported the fine is almost 10 times the commission’s previous record fine. Voters will decide next week if entrepreneur Shawn Scott can run a casino in York County. Emails released by the five-member ethics commission late Wednesday detail communications among the Scotts, Timberlake and other associates as the casino drive progressed. The commission voted in June to investigate the ballot question committee Horseracing Jobs Fairness, where it got its financing to collect signatures to put the casino referendum on the ballot and why it failed to meet finance report filing deadlines. Three other ballot question committees formed by Lisa Scott were swept into the investigation and all four were penalize. The records also include financial reports and other emails that show how Shawn Scott and partners, one of whom was based in Cambodia, were the key people in the $4.5 million push to gather signatures and get the casino proposal on the ballot.

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

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