A Brief Look at Crime 01/22 – 01/28

Washington State Man Swindled Alaskans Out of $3M to Gamble and Do Drugs

A man in Washington State who told his neighbors he had cancer and needed money for treatment took approximately $3 million from them and several of their friends who lived in a tiny Alaska town. But it wasn’t for cancer, it was all to feed his gambling and drug addictions Floyd Jay Mann, who pled guilty in June to all 19 counts against him including wire fraud and money laundering, is now close to finding out what his sentence will be, and he is asking for a relatively light sentence, given that he bilked the money from mostly trusting senior citizens. “The victims did not believe that the scheme was fraudulent [even]when legitimate FBI agents showed up to conduct interviews andserved search warrants, because they had been told so many storiesof corrupt agents and judges,” wrote Steward. “It was not until after the agents showed up, when Mann stopped calling and asking for money, [that] the victims accepted that the stories he had been telling them for six years were fraudulent.”

Man jumps to his death after racking up big gambling debt

The suicide of a young man in Tuen Mun in Hong Kong’s New Territories on Tuesday may have been linked to gambling debts. The 22-year-old man died after jumping from a building in a public housing estate. He was found lying unconscious outside Mun Yu House of Sam Shing Estate at midnight, Sing Tao Daily reported. He was sent to Tuen Mun Hospital but was pronounced dead later. When police officers examined the man’s personal computer and bank statements, they found he was a soccer gambler who had a credit-card overdraft of at least HK$110,000 (US$14,075). So far this year the center has handled 80 cases in which the gamblers were aged 29 or below. About 17% of the gamblers said they once considered committing suicide, 60% had suffered emotional stress and 40% had bad relationships with family members. Fully 40% of them had racked up more than HK$100,000 of debt. Yeung said young people should seek counseling if they have found they have gambling problems.

Hazelwood dispatcher raised money for paralyzed officer, told police she gambled it away

A former Hazelwood dispatcher who helped organize fundraisers for a police officer who was paralyzed in the line of duty was charged Tuesday with stealing some of the money to gamble. April Briscuso, 40, was arrested in November amid an investigation into whether she pocketed some of the money she helped raise for former Officer Craig Tudor. He was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash more than a year ago while he was on his way to a call. Briscuso was charged Tuesday. Her bail has been set at $75,000. She told investigators she took cash donations to gamble at casinos. The documents also show that Tudor and his wife, Christine, told investigators they had not received the proceeds from several events hosted in their name, with the exception of checks made payable to officer Tudor or his wife. Investigators concluded that Briscuso told donors to make checks payable to her even after Tudor told her to stop doing so. She told Christine Tudor that she had been depositing donations into her personal account, according to the documents.

Emergency FEMA Funding Went to Old Casino

Federal Emergency Management Agency grants meant for disaster relief ended up going to unauthorized casino repairs and a $300,000 “bonus” to a contractor, according to a new audit by the inspector general. The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security questioned roughly $14 million awarded to the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa for flood damage in 2011. The audit, released last week, found “serious and pervasive” mishandling of federal funds by the tribe. “The Omaha Tribe’s accounting system and supporting documentation were so unreliable and in such disarray that the only amounts we were able to verify with any degree of confidence were $2.8 million of unneeded funds; $165,000 of unclaimed insurance coverage; and about $74,749 of eligible and supported costs,” the inspector general said. “We question the remaining $13.9 million as unsupported.” The office of inspector general said it had “little confidence” in any transactions the tribe listed in its accounting system. The Omaha Tribe spent $168,764 in taxpayer funding for “ineligible expenditures to repair its old casino” and awarded $312,282 to itself as a “bonus.”

Massive illegal gambling operation busted. 500 slot machines involved

After a two-year investigation, federal and state officials say they have broken up a massive illegal gambling operation that used 500 video slot machines throughout Northern California smoke shops, bars and stores to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The allegations against four Israeli citizens who operate out of the Bay Area are contained in a 44-page affidavit filed in federal court in Sacramento and unsealed on Friday. According to the affidavit from a state Department of Justice special agent, the probe uncovered the gambling scheme that it says was run by what authorities call “the Gohar Organization,” which allegedly placed machines generating more than $2,000 a day in storefronts from San Jose to Sacramento. “This organization controls a large number of illegal video slot machines placed in small Northern California retail stores such as markets, gas stations, liquor stores and smoke shops,” the affidavit states, adding that proceeds from the operation may have been laundered by sending the money to Israel through a Los Angeles rabbi and later by purchasing homes and commercial buildings in the Bay Area. The investigation began in September 2015 and followed a similar probe of a suspect known as “Dino the Casino,” an Israeli national named Nive Hagay who pleaded guilty last May to a count of illegal gambling and one count of cocaine distribution. He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit about $320,000 in cash, vehicles and other assets.

4 arrested, $200,000 seized in Lake County gambling sting

A two-month operation targeting illegal gambling in Lake County ended with search warrants being served at 10 illegal gambling establishments across the county, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The sting, dubbed Operation Jackpot, was initiated after authorities received tips and Crimeline calls about illegal gambling at the businesses, authorities said. Authorities seized more than $200,000 during the operation and made four arrests — three for illegal gambling and one for drugs and weapons charges, deputies said. Luis Hernandez, 50; Samir Aguiar , 38; and Brenda Martinez, 42 were charged with keeping an establishment for gambling. Christopher DeCotis, 26, was a customer of one of the businesses when the warrant was served. Deputies searched his backpack and found a handgun, digital scale and a spoon with white residue. He was charged with possession of a firearm by convicted felon and possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said.

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


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