A Brief Look at Crime 02/12 – 02/18

Gunman shoots and kills two security guards at a Las Vegas hotel and casino then tries to commit suicide

Two security guards were shot dead at a Las Vegas hotel and casino at 6.30am on Saturday. The shooting took place in a hotel room at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur Hotel and Casino when 29-year-old gunman Christopher Olague opened fire on two guards responding to a report of a disturbance. According to the LA Times, the guards had entered the room on the fourth floor and were shot by Olague, who was alone in the room. He used a handgun. Following the shooting Olague escaped and tried to carjack two motorists who managed to fend him off. He was located soon afterwards in the garage where he had shot himself in the head. He was taken to University Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. ‘I don’t expect him to live,’ Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan McGrath said. Further information on the shooting, including a possible motive for the act, wasn’t immediately clear.

Londoner David Hair pleads guilty to role in $100M sports-betting ring linked to organized crime

A London man has admitted he helped lead a lucrative, illegal sports gambling scheme that grossed more than $100 million in five years. David Hair, 50, “was a leading member of the upper-echelon management group” of Platinum Sports Book, “an illegal bookmaking operation” that was run on websites through computers in Costa Rica, Crown attorney Henry Poon said in reading an agreed statement of facts in Toronto court Wednesday. Hair, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to bookmaking for a criminal organization, will be sentenced to two years imprisonment. He also agreed to pay $3 million in fines — $2 million before he’s actually sentenced on Feb. 21 — and the remaining million within the next three years, court heard. Hair remains out on $400,000 bail and still lives at the McCracken Court house in London’s swish Sunningdale neighbourhood, where police found $680,000 in bundled cash — believed to be Platinum revenues — when a search warrant was executed in February 2013.

Five of UK’s online casinos may lose licence over money laundering fears

Five online casino companies could lose their licence to operate, after industry regulator the Gambling Commission warned they were not doing enough to stop criminals using their websites to launder money. The commission has written to 17 online casino companies, flagging up the “serious nature” of its findings on their controls against money laundering, terrorist financing and problem gambling. The regulator said it was already considering a licence review for five of the firms as a result of its early findings, which could result in their permission to operate in the UK being revoked.

In its letter to firms in the sector the commission said it had identified failings not just in anti-money laundering controls, but also in social responsibility provisions designed to protect problem gamblers. These included companies hiring money laundering reporting officers with no formal qualifications who were “unable to provide suitable explanations as to what constitutes money laundering”. “There was a general lack of understanding of how criminal spend could affect the business,” the commission said. It also said firms were not submitting enough information about suspicious activity to law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency. Online casinos are also failing in their duty to intervene when customers were showing signs of problem gambling the commission said. The regulator said it had spotted customers showing signs of problem gambling but “this behaviour did not trigger a customer interaction” by the companies.

Former employee pleads guilty to creating phony job ads to steal $244,000 from Brunswick hospital

A man who formerly bought employment ads for Southeast Georgia Health System pleaded guilty Thursday to creating phony ones to funnel nearly $244,000 of hospital money into his own bank account.While his job was to contract with advertising vendors, Wiemers created fictitious job boards and then caused the transfer of $243,738.53 in phony charges into his personal bank account, FBI Special Agent Jeff Roberts testified. Wiemers went through proxy companies as he took steps to conceal his involvement and used false identities to create email addresses, Roberts said. During his pre-trial release, Wiemers is undergoing rehabilitation some of “a very serious gambling addiction problem,” Zeh told the court. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and three years probation.

A ‘gambling-obsessed’ Welsh accountant stole £1.3m from Bermuda and then claimed it was overtime

An accountant with a “fascination with risk and trying to win big” stole £1.3m from the Bermuda government and transferred it to the UK to invest in cars and properties, a court has heard. This was allegedly used to pay off the £140,000 mortgage on his house, invest in 11 properties and buy two Mercedes-Benz cars. Bevan claims that £1.8m was legitimately paid to him for his work at the department of the Accountant General of Bermuda and was “effectively overtime”. Tim Evans, prosecuting, said Bevan made 52 payments from the Bermudan government to bank accounts belonging to him and his wife. The jury heard Bevan did this while implementing a new finance system at the government. Mr Evans described Bevan as a “gambling addict” with a “fascination with risk and trying to win big”.

Macau police hunt casino dealer after S$8.1 million theft

Police in the world’s largest gambling hub of Macau are hunting for a dealer suspected of stealing HK$48 million (S$8.1 million) worth of casino chips from Wynn Macau, authorities in the Chinese-controlled territory said on Thursday. Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, known as the DICJ, said it was concerned about the incident and had asked casino operators to beef up their security. The theft, which took place this week, was carried out by a man from Macau who worked in a high-roller VIP room at Wynn’s resort on Macau’s teeming peninsula, media reported. Public broadcaster TDM said police were also investigating if there were multiple suspects but did not give further detail. Typically, Wynn casino chips can only be exchanged for cash in Wynn’s casino, so anyone with stolen chips would likely try to cash in small amounts at a time rather than all at once, to avoid attracting attention. The last major casino heists happened in 2015 and 2016 when employees working in Macau’s VIP parlours stole millions of dollars from junket rooms in the casinos.

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