A Brief Look at Crime 04/30 – 05/06

Feds Seize $10.1M in ‘Illegal Gambling’ Money from Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe of New Mexico

The US Department of Justice on Friday filed forfeiture proceedings in a federal court to seize $10.1 million from a bank account linked to the Pojoaque Pueblo tribal gaming operator in New Mexico. The DOJ said it deemed the money to be the proceeds of illegal gambling. It’s the latest twist in the longstanding fight between the tribe and the State of New Mexico, which kicked off in 2014 when the tribe refused to sign a new compact. Its original gambling agreement, signed in 2005, gave the state an 8 percent share of gross gambling revenue and was due to expire in 2015. Negotiations over a new revenue sharing agreement broke down when the tribe accused the state government of unreasonably hiking up its cut, to 9 percent. New Mexico’s other tribal operators reluctantly agreed to these terms, but the Pojoaque Pueblos dug in their heels. The tribe argued for the right to negotiate a new compact with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, rather than the state.

Casino-Bound Passengers Describe Terrifying Wild Ride With Drunk Bus Driver 

Dozens of passengers took terrifying trip on a Bay Area tour bus whose driver was dangerously intoxicated, according to authorities. It was supposed to be a relaxing drive up to Graton Casino, but it was anything but that. It ended up being a wild ride through San Francisco and the North Bay with a very drunk driver behind the wheel. One passenger told CHP officers the driver hit the right side rail of the Golden Gate Bridge and kept driving. The passenger called 911 to report the incident, but the says the driver continued to drive erratically, going at unsafe speeds and passing on the right shoulder. The CHP tried to stop the bus in Petaluma but couldn’t get there in time, and 911 calls from other drivers on the road started to pour into the dispatch center. The wild ride didn’t end until the bus arrived at the casino in Rohnert Park. CHP officers interviewed those on board and the driver. Officers say 34-year-old Angela Teasley from Richmond was put through DUI tests and she was almost 4 times over the legal blood alcohol limit.

Police Bust Alleged Lucchese Gambling, Loan-sharking Operation in New York State 

New York State law enforcement has broken up an illegal gambling and loan-sharking racket with alleged links to the notorious Lucchese crime family. Ten people, most from New Rochelle, Westchester County, were arrested and indicted Tuesday on charges of first-degree usury and first-degree promoting illegal gambling, according to the state attorney general’s office. It was the culmination of “Operation The Vig is Up” – a yearlong investigation into the bookmaking activities of alleged Lucchese “made member” Dominick Capelli and the loan-sharking operation coordinated by his alleged henchmen. It was the biggest loan-sharking operation the AG’s office had ever investigated. The “vig” in question refers not to the bookmaker’s edge but the usurious interest payments charged on the loans, which collectively exceeded a $1 million during the duration of the investigation alone. Prosecutors described how the operation was designed to trap gamblers in a cycle of impossible debt. They identified at least 47 victims, many saddled with multiple loans and paying exorbitant weekly interest rates equivalent to 200 percent per year.

Federal agents rescue 63 dogs from suspected South Georgia dogfighting ring

On March 23, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint seeking the possession of 63 pit bull-type dogs that were allegedly involved in a dog fighting venture in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. At the reported location, agents discovered a disassembled dog fighting “pit” and more than 60 pit bull-type dogs staked to the ground by heavy chains. The condition of a majority of the dogs, including scarring and aggression toward other dogs, was consistent with dog fighting and related training. After obtaining a search warrant, agents found numerous indications of dog fighting at the Eastman property, including a treadmill with a rope attached to the front part of the machine, antibiotics and other injectable veterinary medications, and a jenny mill, which is used to develop a dog’s endurance and musculature by enticing the animal to run on a circular track. From four grave areas, agents unearthed the remains of seven dogs, five of which had scarring consistent with dog fighting and one of which had a broken leg. During the search, agents noted that none of the live animals had access to food, and most did not have access to water.

“Dog fighting is a barbaric spectacle that has no place in any civilized society, and it will enjoy no quarter in the Southern District of Georgia,” Christine said. “We know that animal fighting ventures often entail other forms of illegal activity involving drugs, firearms, and gambling, and this Office will continue to work with its law enforcement partners at all levels to investigate and successfully prosecute those who contribute to the proliferation of crime and seek to profit off the abuse and suffering of helpless animals.”

State: Casino worker preyed on addicts, laundered $1.5M 

The Washington State Gambling Commission says a couple suspected of providing $300,000 in loans to people with gambling problems at a Tukwila casino and then threatening them in order to collect the debt have been arrested. The News Tribune reports the 45-year-old employee and her 27-year-old boyfriend are also charged with laundering about $1.5 million through Macau Casino. Authorities are working to determine the source of the $1.5 million. Authorities believe Macau Casino’s general manager was aware of the activities. His gambling license was suspended. A statement released Friday by the commission said that the agency and police have received numerous complaints of loansharking and money laundering at the casino over the past two years. The suspects were booked into jail and face charges of collection of unlawful debt, money laundering and use of extortionate means to collect extensions of credit.

Woman embezzled more than £100,000 from Glasgow care home 

A woman has admitted she embezzled more than £100,000 from a care home company which led to up to five people losing their jobs. Sarah McGartland, 51, transferred £102,398 of Harveys Healthcare cash into both her own and her husband’s accounts over 11 months. But she was caught when a director of the firm carried out an audit. As well as the job losses the company has downsized as a result of McGartland’s crime. She pleaded guilty to embezzling the money between January and November 2015 from the company, which was based in Ibrox, Glasgow. The court heard she was jailed for six months in 2010 for forgery and uttering. Harveys Healthcare is a care home company who look after elderly residents, mostly for Dumfries and Galloway Council, and at the time had around 40 residents. Gambling addict McGartland, of Ibrox, Glasgow, was an accounts clerk for them for 13 months, including most of 2015. Part of her duties were filling out invoices to ensure any money owed was paid, which was then authorised by one of the directors, Bijay Kumar. He carried out an audit in November 2015 after noticing anomalies with the company account.

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