A Brief Look at Crime 06/18 – 06/24

Jail for accounts administrator who stole over €150k from employers to fund gambling addiction

An accounts administrator who stole over €150,000 from his employers to fund his gambling addiction has been sentenced to two years in prison. Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Martin Nolan said Luong had committed a “huge error of judgement and obviously, a huge breach of trust” in stealing from his company. “He had a pernicious gambling addiction and used his knowledge to take the company’s money. This money was lost by reason of his gambling and he’s in no position to repay it,” said the judge. The court heard that Luong altered these documents and substituted his own IBAN details instead of the company’s so that monies were transferred into his bank account. The sums of money stolen ranged from €3,000 to €35,000, with the total amount taken totalling €156,497. Gda Keane said the head of the company became aware that funds were being diverted to Luong’s account and suspended him pending a full investigation. He was later fired after Price Waterhouse Coopers identified eight occasions when he had diverted monies into his account.

Woman arrested in connection with illegal gambling at maquinita 

A woman has been arrested for her alleged connection to illegal gambling at a maquinita. Police said the illegal gambling investigation led to simultaneous raids in Laredo, Zapata and Falcon Heights in January. Leticia Cantu de Calzada, 59, was served with an arrest warrant charging her with gambling promotion and engaging in organized criminal activity. Authorities said they seized $1.9 million in connection with the raids. This included $1.5 million found at a home in Zapata owned by Diana Hilda Guerra Villarreal, 69, who is the suspected head of the Villarreal criminal organization, officials said. Guerra Villarreal was arrested back in January. She was charged with money laundering. Her daughter, Rebecca Lopez Villarreal, was also arrested and charged with gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place and engaging in organized criminal activity. “This case has … yielded one of the largest, if not the largest, cash seizure in Zapata,” said District Attorney Isidro R. “Chilo” Alaniz at the time.

Fatal Dog Fights on the Rise

Lured by gambling profits and machismo, more than 40,000 people across the nation attend staged animal fighting events, which often result in an animal’s death. The beast of choice remains the pit bull, favored by trainers for its loyalty, “gameness” and willingness to continue fighting through extreme pain and exhaustion. Pit bulls have been bred for more than a century to propagate genes favored in fights, and are thrown in the ring most often. Breeds such as akitas, rottweilers, and German shepherds also are used.

The attraction crosses across all ethnic lines, sometimes even bringing together members of Aryan, black and Latino gangs to organize a fight card, one detective said. “It is something we’ve seen in practically every state,” said Lockwood, who has a doctorate in animal behavior. Chris Sanford, a narcotics detective in the small Northern California town of Galt , says he learned a lot about the dog-fighting underworld in 1998 when he received a tip about an upcoming fight that led to the several arrests, as well as the confiscation of 60 dogs, drugs and illegal weapons. It was one of the biggest operations in the Western United States. He says tougher laws against dog fights — which had normally been left in the venue of animal control officers — have become a useful tool to catch criminals who are also active in drug trafficking, illegal gambling and other crimes.

Father-and-son from Sheffield plead with gambling bosses to stop more families being ‘destroyed’

A gambling addict from Sheffield whose habit landed him behind bars has written to gambling chiefs demanding action to prevent more families from being ‘destroyed’. David Bradford, from Waterthorpe, racked up more than £500,000 in debts and was jailed for two years after stealing over £50,000 from his employer. The 61-year-old and his son Adam have issued an emotional plea to industry bosses to better promote responsible gambling and safeguard others from addiction and its ‘ruinous’ impact.

In an open letter, written ahead of a government announcement expected this week about the outcome of a review into gambling legislation, they say there are almost half a million gambling addicts in the UK and many more people who are unaware of their addiction. “This is half a million communities wrecked, families destroyed and lives ruined,” the letter states. “There is a lot of work to do to clean up the act in the gambling industry. My father hid his addiction for years and got himself into a financial hole because of it, eventually stealing money and bankrupting our family, jeopardising our home and serving a prison sentence. “We are left with a bleak future because of an addiction which he had no support for and which none of your companies ever spotted. “No family wants to lose their father to prison and nobody wants to lose anybody to gambling. This week do not take the Government’s legislation lightly. There is a lot more to be done and you can lead the way.”

Ex-Hopi school superintendent gets 2 years for million-dollar embezzlement 

A former superintendent who embezzled nearly $1 million from a Hopi school is going to prison. A federal judge sentenced 45-year-old Thane Epefanio in Phoenix this week to two years as part of a guilty plea to money laundering and wire fraud. The Avondale man was the superintendent and administrator of the Hopi Mission School on the Hopi reservation in Kykotsmovi. According to prosecutors, Epefanio used his position to embezzle school funds beginning in 2012. He manipulated the staff to provide him money but made it look like the funds were being used for school operations. They say Epefanio was siphoning money for a gambling habit and personal expenses.

Caregiver charged in elderly woman’s death embezzled $100K 

A Westport woman is facing serious charges that she caused a woman’s death by way of neglect and stole $100,000 from her in the process. Fairhurst, 80, was hospitalized on Jan. 16, 2017, and died there nine days later. Her weight had dropped 50 pounds in the last months of her life, Quinn’s office said, and it was determined that malnutrition and bed sores contributed to her death. Medeiros was Fairhurst’s longtime friend, caregiver and health care proxy, and she also had power of attorney over Fairhurst’s finances, Quinn’s office said. Prosecutors allege she failed to provide adequate medical attention to Fairhurst, as it appeared she had not received professional medical care in the 18 months prior to her death. Prosecutors also allege that in November 2013 Medeiros withdrew approximately $100,000 from Fairhurst’s checking account with one bank and deposited it into Fairhurst’s savings account at another bank. Then, she allegedly withdrew $104,186.89 from that account and closed it, before transferring the money to her son and his wife, Clifford and Kristin Medeiros. Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News revealed he has a criminal history of “violence, guns” and a background of “drug addiction and gambling addiction.”

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

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