Christopher F. Venti says he was simply trying to help his family and, along the way, made a very big mistake. A mistake that resulted in three separate fraudulent investment schemes and a $7.7 million loss to the victims, here and across the world, who trusted the former Hamburg man. Venti, 49, now a Florida resident, was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in federal prison for his role in the schemes. “Bottom line, you may not be an evil person, but what you did was evil,” said U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. Wolford also ordered Venti to pay $1.6 in restitution to the victims, many of whom are unknown, and $216,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. Venti also admitted withdrawing $148,000 in investor funds while at three local casinos. He eventually pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges.
An Illinois man is claiming that a CVS employee stole his winning $1 million scratch-off lottery card after being “coerced” inside the store. Carlos Figueroa said in a lawsuit filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court that he bought the “Merry Millionaire” ticket on Oct. 30 at a CVS in Waukegan, but it came out cut in half due to a machine malfunction. Figueroa says he was then “coerced” by a store employee into handing over half of the ticket under the intention that it would be checked to see if it was a winner, the Lake County News-Sun reported. About 20 minutes later, according to the lawsuit, the worker gave Figueroa half of a different lottery ticket back – one that was not a winner – despite his protests to be handed the original ticket.
The rector of a retirement home for Roman Catholic priests who was convicted of embezzling a half-million dollars has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison. Authorities say Monsignor William Dombrow spent the stolen funds on casino visits, expensive dinners and concerts. At his sentencing Wednesday, Dombrow acknowledged committing a “serious crime” and said he would accept the judge’s decision. Dombrow’s attorney says the priest was sometimes accompanied on those outings by residents of Villa St. Joseph. The Philadelphia Archdiocese runs the facility in Darby to house aging priests and treat those accused of sexual abuse.
The former office clerk/secretary for the Enlarged Hepzibah Public Service District was sentenced to home incarceration Thursday for an embezzlement of about $257,000 that the state said resulted in a rate hike for consumers. Harrison Chief Judge James A. Matish ordered [the employee], 64, of Spelter, to pay at least $200 a month in restitution; to obtain another job to supplement her Social Security/private pension income; and also ruled she must obtain outpatient mental health counseling for her gambling addiction. [She] previously told the court that she gradually became addicted to gambling on video lottery machines, leading to the theft of money. “When you start something like that, it gets ahead of you. It gets ahead of you. I’m sorry,” [she] said at her plea hearing. In Metz’s mind, she believed she stole about $50,000 or $60,000 over time, but she allowed at her plea hearing that she couldn’t be sure. On Wednesday, Dyer said they couldn’t, and wouldn’t, dispute the amount of about $257,000.
Brexton Redell Lloyd, 54, of Eagle Springs, North Carolina, pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy and two felony counts of possession and training a dog intended for use in an animal fighting venture, contrary to the animal fighting provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act. “Organized crime has no place in North Carolina or the United States – and dog fighting of this sort is nothing short of organized crime,” said United States Attorney Martin. “Our law enforcement partners at the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, and the N.C. State Highway Patrol demonstrated exceptional coordination in bringing this defendant to justice.” “Today’s sentence sends a message that our justice system will not tolerate the torment and death of animals in the fighting ring, all for the sake of illegal gambling.”
A Sandy man accused of embezzling more than $1 million from his employer has been sentenced to spend six years in a federal prison. Though Strong claimed he was funneling legitimate purchases through Grand Design in order to save his employer money, forensic accountants found no evidence any of the money was used for legitimate business reasons, according to the memorandum. Prosecutors also alleged Strong has a $700,000 share in an illegal gambling business called Paradise Gaming, but didn’t provide additional details about the endeavor. Tax evasion and money laundering are also suspected in connection with the gambling.
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