Monthly Archives: July 2018

Florida Appeals Court to Rule on New “Pre-reveal” Slot Machines

Casino Watch Focus has reported on a new form of slot machine termed pre-reveal machines. These machines have the ability to drastically expand gambling in the state should the be viewed as anything other than a slot machine. Slot machines would be heavily regulated as a game of chance and face numerous restrictions. They work slightly different that a typical slot machine in that the reveal what the next spin will be. The creators and those that believe they shouldn’t be regulated as slot machines claim that because you see what the next spin will be, it can’t be gambling. The judge originally agreed with the creators and said they were legal machines. The judge was urged to reexamine how the machines actually work and it was explained to him that event though the next pull was revealed, it was the spin after that would be revealed that gamblers were chasing. It’s exactly like a slot machine except the gambler is one play behind. They basically pay for the spin they know is coming, but its really the next spin that will be revealed that they gamble on being a winner. Now the case has reached the Appellate level and its outcome could have a huge impact if these machines are deemed legal. An online source explains: 

In a legal dispute that’s dragged on for more than three years and has eluded a legislative remedy, an appellate court is grappling with whether popular tabletop games are illegal slot machines or more-benign entertainment options for customers of bars and restaurants.

The 1st District Court of Appeal heard arguments Tuesday in the case centered on games produced by Blue Sky Games and leased by Jacksonville-based Gator Coin II Inc., after a Tallahassee judge last year sided with gambling regulators who maintain that the games violate a Florida law banning slot machines in most parts of the state.

Proponents of the devices, known as “pre-reveal games,” contend that the machines are legal because the computer games include a “preview” feature that advises players of the outcome of the games.

But critics, including the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, say that doesn’t matter because the “random number generator” used to create the games equates to the definition of slot machines, which are games of “chance,” under state law.

There’s nothing players can do to affect the outcome of the game, which fits the definition of slots, department attorney Daniel McGinn told a three-judge panel Tuesday.

The only other argument that they are advancing is that because the first game is known, and only the games after are not known, then a ruling requires looking at all the games played and not simply a single game. The state believes its irrelevant if one game is played or many games are played. The online source continues:

A key issue in the case involves whether the slot-machine law applies to playing a single game or a series of games. While the outcome of the first game is revealed in advance, a player at the outset does not know the results of subsequent games.

Judge James Wolf repeatedly asked lawyers on both sides whether the court should consider whether a single game or a series of games violates the law.

“I’m a simple kind of guy. It comes down to whether we can consider the entire course of the play or one particular game. Their argument is one particular game is not a game of chance because you know the outcome. … What in the statute allows us to consider the entire course of play?” he asked, pointing out that the state law defines slot machines, in part, as a device whose outcome is “unpredictable by the user.”

The answer rests in the way the machines generate the games, which the state believes violates the law, said McGinn, whose department regulates gambling. “From our perspective, it doesn’t matter whether it’s one game. It doesn’t matter whether it’s multiple games,” he said.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 07/16 – 07/22

Schoolboy, 13, blows £80,000 gambling online after using his father’s business credit cards to fund his addiction

A 13-year-old schoolboy blew £80,000 gambling online using his father’s business credit cards to fund his addiction. The youngster, from Lancashire, started placing bets after seeing adverts for online bookmakers while watching a football match at Wembley. He took pictures of cards on his mobile phone and set up a betting account using his company director father’s identity. He became addicted to sports gambling, placing hundreds of bets a week on football matches and horses, staking as much as £3,000 each time. The teen told the Mirror: ‘I had no idea that ­gambling could be an addiction like smoking, drinking or drugs. It seemed like fun and I thought I would make money too. ‘It was just far too easy. I just had to put in dad’s name, ­address, date of birth and card details and checked a box saying I was 18 – it took literally seconds to register and start gambling.’ He had to see a psychotherapist to help curb his addiction after it almost tore the family apart. The boy’s story comes as new Government figures reveal 25,000 children aged 11-16 are addicted to gambling.

Gardens man admits to embezzling $1.5 million 

A decade ago, Keegan Garner was accepting plaudits for a humorous book wrote about his high school escapades, was working as a stand-up comic and dreamed of snaring a gig on the Late Show with David Letterman. On Friday, the 34-year-old Palm Beach Gardens man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for embezzling $1.5 million while working as a vice president of sales in the Gardens office of Denison Yacht Sales, a company owned by a friend. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra rejected defense attorney Jack Goldberger’s request to place Garner on house arrest so the father of two could earn money, repay the yacht broker, support his children and continue to get help to overcome his addictions to gambling and alcohol. “If people know you can steal $1.5 million and get probation, you’re sending a message to the public, ‘Go for it. What do you have to lose?’” Marra said, rejecting the plea for leniency. He also ordered Garner to repay the company.

Six Kansas massage parlors were fronts for prostitution, generated millions, feds say 

Five people were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday for allegedly using six massage parlors in Lawrence, Topeka and Salina as fronts for prostitution. The charges include conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering. Together, the five people generated millions of dollars in revenue, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas. The release states: Ma Li Vanskike, 67, operated ABC Massage, which was formerly known as Naima Therapy, in Lawrence as a front for prostitution. She allegedly laundered more than $1 million in revenue from the parlor at Harrah’s Casino in North Kansas City. The Nielsens are charged with two counts of conspiracy, two counts of bank fraud, five counts of laundering and one count of racketeering. Li and Mills are charged with two counts of conspiracy, two counts of interstate racketeering and four counts of money laundering. Money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Bank fraud can be punished by up to 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

$50G lottery winner fatally shot outside Lady Luck Pub, report says 

A Cleveland man who claimed a $50,000 scratch-off lottery prize just last week didn’t stay alive long enough to spend the money. The victim, identified as Isaac Carson Jr., 37, was fatally shot Tuesday outside Cleveland’s Lady Luck Pub, family and friends said. Carosn, 37, was shot in the abdomen after an altercation outside the pub, police and family members told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Carson’s father, mother and brother and friends told the newspaper that they believe he was targeted, because it became known that he had won money. “I told him on Monday to not tell too many people about the money,” his father Issac Carson Sr. said. “The next day they killed him.” Family and friends said Carson “talked extensively” about the money he won because he was so happy. He also told friends he was thinking about starting his own business.

Michigan woman to pay back $2.4 million stolen from employer, IRS

After writing over 270 checks to herself without her employer’s knowledge, a Michigan woman has been ordered to serve three years in federal prison and repay more than $2.4 million to the IRS and her former employer. As part of the plea agreement, Pawielski must pay back the $1,962,611 to Millennium Machinery, along with $511,433 in restitution to the IRS. Pawielski, who has since undergone treatment for a gambling addiction, used the embezzled money to gamble at a casino and for other personal use. To hide the unauthorized checks she wrote to herself, Pawielski altered checking information in her employer’s accounting software to make it look like the payments were going to the company’s suppliers.

Guilty plea for Indiana cattle broker who gambled investments

An Indiana cattle broker, who took his bull calf investor money straight to the casino, plead guilty this week to one charge of wire fraud in federal court. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brian D. Jones agreed to pay back the $473,000 he took from his victims and could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. ccording to court documents, Jones operated a business buying bull calves from dairy farms in Wisconsin and selling them to cattle ranches in Texas and Missouri. He began soliciting investors in 2015 promising sizable returns for the investments. Rather than invest the funds, prosecutors say the cattle broker used the funds for his personal benefit such as gambling at casinos. The indictment also alleges that Jones used the investment funds to pay “returns” back to earlier investors as if the funds had actually generated income through investment in his business. By the end of 2015, the indictment says, Jones had squandered funds from the cattle purchasers and was in debt with his suppliers and purchasers. 

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

MGM does the Unthinkable and Sues the Victims of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the worst mass shooting in modern American history as it took place in Las Vegas on the Mandalay Bay casino-resort, and an MGM property. Understanding its impact to gambling industry was noteworthy, so it was discussed, but not at all on the same level of impact that tragic event had on the American people. None understand that more that the surviving victims and their families. Many have sought legal measures against MGM and given the shear scope of the operation Steven Paddock ran out of their hotel, with the unimaginable fire power he unleashed, the families actions seem understandable. In what can only be described as an absolutely unprecedented move, MGM has decided to sue the victims and their families in an effort to not have to deal with the lawsuits that have followed. An online source explains: 

MGM Resorts International has sued hundreds of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in a bid to avoid liability for the gunfire that rained down from its Mandalay Bay casino-resort in Las Vegas.

The company argues in lawsuits filed Friday in Nevada and California that it has “no liability of any kind” to survivors or families of slain victims under a federal law enacted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The lawsuits target victims who have sued the company and voluntarily dismissed their claims or have threatened to sue after a gunman shattered the windows of his Mandalay Bay suite and fired on a crowd gathered below for a country music festival. 

Attorney Robert Eglet, who represents victims in a lawsuit pending in federal court in Nevada, decried the casino-operator’s move. “MGM has done something that in over 30 years of practice is the most outrageous thing I have ever seen,” Eglet said. “They have sued the families of victims while they’re still grieving over their loved ones.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 07/09 – 07/15

KC man charged with killing woman during robbery after leaving casino 

Kansas City man is charged with murder after he allegedly killed a woman during an attempted robbery after leaving a casino. Corey D. Bibee, 30, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action. According to court documents, Elaine M. Segovia was found shot to death in a vehicle parked on the south side of Smart Avenue. Investigators found a receipt for the 7th Street Casino in Kansas City, Kansas in her pocket. Police saw Bibee, Segovia and another woman on surveillance video inside the casino. Bibee told police that he and Segovia intended to rob the other woman and Segovia was killed as a result.

Thirty-year sentence meted out in $1.2 million swindle of Nevada woman 

A judge sentenced a Nevada man this week to 30 years in prison for his role in a $1.2 million swindle of an elderly woman. The two men deceived a Nevada woman into selling all her stock in a major oil company to help bail Davis out of a supposed financial obligation to a trucking company and legal trouble with a court in Kansas City. The swindle came to light at a guardianship hearing in July 2014 when she testified that she had sold all her stock in the oil company and gave the money to Davis so he could take it to the judge in Kansas City. An examination of her living trust account by an investigator with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services determined that between January 2011 and February 2012, she’d made 16 cash withdrawals totaling $1.2 million. Davis told the investigator that he was a regular patron of a casino in Oklahoma and that he “may have gambled away” all the money he received from the woman.

Former Bank of America manager sentenced to prison for embezzlement 

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California released a press statement regarding the imprisonment of a former Bank of America employee in Fresno who was convicted for embezzlement from a financial institution. Sylvia Ocho, 35, of Selma, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing at least $165,850 from Bank of America’s Fresno Branch on East Tulare Street between the months of March and October 2013. As branch manager, Ochoa would prevent other bank employees from counting the cash in the bank’s vault and would enter the vault after the bank was closed and remove cash to spend on personal expenses. She also used the stolen cash for casino gambling and expensive designer handbags.

Ex-CFO gets prison term for stealing more than $1 million

The former chief financial officer of a New Jersey orthopedic care provider is headed to prison for stealing more than $1 million from the company for his personal use. Harry Wolfmuller received a two-year sentence Wednesday and must pay $1,175,720 in restitution. He pleaded guilty last November to wire fraud. A former Belmar resident, the 70-year-old Wolfmuller was the CFO for an orthopedic care provider that has offices in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Federal prosecutors say he cashed checks from the company’s business accounts between 2007 and 2015 and spent the money on restaurant meals, golf outings, gambling, lottery tickets and other unapproved personal expenses. He then misrepresented the nature of these transactions in the company’s accounting records to make them appear as legitimate business expenses.

Woman convicted for filing false medical claims, embezzling nearly $1 million from Detroit nonprofit

She was convicted of embezzlement from a nonprofit or charitable organization, health care fraud — false claim and Medicaid fraud – false claim. Court documents said the former clinic biller made Medicaid claims for services never performed and then used nonprofit money to gamble. Scott was also ordered to pay $915,000 in restitution. “Not only did this nonprofit employee steal nearly $1 million, but she stole from the taxpayers by falsely billing Medicaid and Medicare from a nonprofit tasked with helping those to fight drug addictions,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said. “I will continue to seek justice for the taxpayers of this great state by aggressively prosecuting individuals who steal from them.” The HCFD also claimed Scott was stealing money from the nonprofit’s bank account by withdrawing funds from an ATM at a Detroit casino and gambling with the money.

Principal accused of gambling on horse races during school hours 

A Bronx principal is playing the ponies – and tweeting about his bets during the school day – according to a complaint filed on behalf of fed-up teachers who want to put him out to pasture. At least 25 tweets he posted during the 2017-18 school year allegedly show Steven Schwartz, the head of PS 24 in Riverdale, spends many mornings and afternoons following horse races. He even writes a handicapping blog that offers advice to other gamblers, and owns a thoroughbred race horse. The 38-year-old principal seems to think of his $133,000-a-year city job as an annoyance. “This whole work thing kills my Twitter time,” he allegedly posted on May 16 under the user name @albundypolkhigh, a Twitter account that was deleted by Friday morning. The night before, a whistleblowing educator, acting on behalf of several teachers at the school, filed a complaint against Schwartz with the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools.

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

New Jersey’s Monmouth Park looks to Sue Sports Leagues now that the Supreme Court has legalized Sports Betting

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts by New Jersey to legalize sports betting. Four years after numerous legal losses and failed attempts, they finally presented a winning argument to the Supreme Court to overturn the existing legislation that limited sports betting to Las Vegas. The driving force behind all those legal defeats was the coalition of professional sports leagues, the NCAA and even the DOJ. And now that the Supreme Court has declared the federal law unconstitutional, there are those that believe the sports leagues should have to pay for the lost revenue due over the years. An online source explains: 

New Jersey’s Monmouth Park is suing US sport’s major leagues over blocking betting in the garden state for the last four years. New Jersey’s first legal sportsbook venue is asking for $150 million from Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, NFL and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

Officials for Monmouth Park said that their relationship between the gambling industry and the sport’s leagues is evidence enough to show proof of revenues lost because of the blocking. The courts is waiting on a formal response from the leagues. They have until July 16^th to file their answer. The Leagues called the request from Monmouth “meritless, if not frivolous”.

Beyond the at-face nature of this $150 million dollar lawsuit being meritless, a deeper look into the issue reveals exactly why this is beyond a long shot. An online source explains: 

The NFL and its allies have doubled down on an effort to prevent Monmouth Park not only from collecting $150 million in damages for being deprived of legal sports betting for a span of 3½ years, but also to deny the racetrack any portion of a $3.4 million injunction bond.

The crux of the case is that, in retrospect, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a New Jersey law passed in 2012, the Sports Wagering Act, actually was valid because the federal law improperly “commandeered” most states into preventing sports betting. But along the way U.S. District Court judge Michael Shipp disagreed with New Jersey, twice, as did a U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, twice, and a full panel of the Third Circuit, once. Thus the case took six years, only to be turned on its head at the highest level.

The leagues note that the filings by the horsemen “cites no authority for the patently absurd proposition that reliance on a duly enacted federal statute constitutes bad faith because the Supreme Court subsequently invalidated the statute as unconstitutional years after that reliance. Congress enacted PASPA in 1992, and, for more than 25 years, the clear language of the statute expressly provided the Leagues with a cause of action to obtain injunctive relief to address violations of the statute. Until May 2018, every challenge to the constitutionality of PASPA — both before and after the Leagues relied on the statute to seek a TRO [temporary restraining order]— had been rejected.”

“NJTHA has not demonstrated that, given the state of the law on PASPA in 2014, it had a right to operate a sports betting venue at Monmouth Park in October and November 2014, when it was restrained by the TRO from doing so. That the Supreme Court struck down PASPA more than three years later in 2018 is insufficient to summarily conclude that NJTHA had the right to operate a sports book in 2014.” Remember, the law in play in 2014 — the “deregulation” version — was not validated by the Supreme Court. In the fall of the 2014, Monmouth Park wanted to offer privatized sports betting. No court has ever said they could do it that way. It’s an interesting wrinkle that the horsemen may be hard pressed to overcome.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 07/02 – 07/08

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

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. Investigators determined that Fairhurst suffered a stroke in Sept. 2013 and was homebound starting in 2014. According to Quinn’s office, she lived in one unit of a Westport duplex while the other side was occupied by Medeiros and her family. 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.”

Waitress Who Stole Almost $500,000 From Elderly Widow Sentenced To Jail

Over the course four years, a waitress at a Brooklyn diner used information from one of her regular patrons to write checks, open lines of credit and otherwise spend nearly half a million dollars on shopping, gambling trips and vacations. Now, she’s looking at a few years in jail—and paying back the money. Legall spent more than $200,000 on retail, restaurants, hotels and clubs from New York to Atlantic City and as far away as Miami. Additionally, she pulled nearly $75,000 in cash advances using the widow’s credit cards. Finally, stealing the unknowing elderly woman’s identity, Legall opened profiles linked to her own phone and email with online gambling sites to bet on horse racing. “This defendant preyed on an elderly and lonely widow, gained her trust and then used the victim’s money as her own private bank account to pay for gambling, vacations and other expenses,” said Attorney General Gonzalez. “Her greedy betrayal was egregious and deplorable. My Office will remain vigilant in protecting our seniors and other vulnerable residents from abuse and exploitation.”

Houston Politician Says Texas Poker Clubs are Illegal Following Recent Card Room Shooting 

Houston City Councilman Greg Travis told a talk radio host he believes Texas poker clubs are “illegal under Texas law,” but card room operators disagree. On April 30, Tom “3betpanda” Steinbach was shot outside the Texas Card House, a social poker club in the Austin area. Steinback was not killed, but the violence raises concerns about safety and security at private card rooms in the Lone Star State. Travis, who was elected to Houston’s City Council District G in November 2015, took his concerns one step further. “I am not one of these people that is opposed to (poker) by any measure, but I do have a problem when it’s illegal,” Travis told the hosts of Poker Lab Radio on Houston’s SportsTalk790 in response to a question about Texas poker clubs. “And right now, it is illegal under Texas law. When asked how he would vote if it were up to him to decide whether or not his poker clubs should be allowed in his city, he emphatically said, “I would have to vote no because I’m not going to go against state law.”*

Polk County man gets 15 years in prison for 214 counts of dog fighting, animal cruelty

A Polk County man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and another 35 on probation for more than 100 counts each of dog fighting and animal cruelty. It all started with a tip to Polk County police back in August 2017. Sadly, that tip uncovered exactly what police feared on Cashtown Road – several dogs nearly starved to death. Several months later, the police chief explained why the animal cruelty charges never escalated to felonies. “We wanted felony, but according to the statute, it has to be aggravated, which means he has to break their bones or damage them, so it doesn’t meet the threshold of a felony,” said Polk Co. Police Chief Kenny Dodd. The judge’s leeway in sentencing varied widely from a year to life in prison. The defense called that proposal that ridiculous and wanted a year in jail with credit for the 5 months he had already served. He told the judge that the state’s problem with dog fighting isn’t violence but rather that it’s a form of gambling that isn’t taxable. Upon hearing those claims, the woman rehabilitating Dani the dog described his words as “heartless.”

Gambling addict from Sheffield who lost over £500,000 says more support is needed to save lives 

David Bradford was jailed after stealing from his employers, having amassed debts of more than £500,000 feeding his addiction. The 61-year-old, of Waterthorpe, has welcomed the Government’s decision to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) from £100 to £2, but he says more must be done to help problem gamblers. Numerous support groups exist for drug and alcohol addicts, he says there is just one NHS clinic in the whole of England for gambling addicts despite suicide rates being higher among that group. “The one thing that’s missing is someone to catch people when they become addicted, and to support them and their family,” said the former finance director, who now works as a courier. “There are lots of NHS clinics for drug addicts and alcoholics but there’s just one for gambling addicts, which is in London. You would have thought there would be a dozen or so covering different areas and helping people turn their lives around. People die of suicide through gambling than through drug or alcohol addiction. “If my family had disowned me, which would have been quite understandable, I dread to think where I would have ended up.”

Reno’s Boomtown casino accused of violating Internet law

State regulators have accused Boomtown casino in Reno of violating Nevada’s Internet laws by linking in with two foreign companies that offered gaming websites. The Nevada Gaming Control Board, in a complaint filed Wednesday, is asking Boomtown be fined or have disciplinary action taken against its licenses for the violations that took place between March and August 2017. The casino has a chance to challenge the accusations. The complaint says Boomtown found it was too expensive to offer free games on its website. So it selected Affiliate Edge and Deck Media, both based in Curacao, to provide the service. It said these firms offered 15 games, 11 of them allowing wagering by U.S. customers. The gaming board said a Boomtown casino advertisement was on three of the sites and Boomtown received a commission on the amount of money lost. Affiliate Edge sent Boomtown a commission, according to the complaint prepared by Senior Deputy Attorney General John Michela. The law says Internet gaming isn’t allowed unless licensed by the state. Boomtown never received a license. In addition, it charges this was an unsuitable method of operations that reflected discredit on the state and Nevada’s gaming industry.

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


UPDATE: Florida Greyhound Amendment wont need a trial: Bench Judge to Determine if the Amendment is Misleading

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the various decoupling efforts in the greyhound industry. Currently dog racing must take place at the tracts in order for the facility to offer slot machines or other forms of gambling. During an effort to ban greyhound racing, legislative leaders took a turn that would effectively allow the greyhound industry to stop offering live racing, but would be able to still operate the other gambling activities, effectively creating mini casinos. Its been outlined before why this is the wrong avenue to take regarding a proper end to dog racing while safe guarding Florida families from the dangers of mini-casino type gambling.

This decoupling effort is not coming through the legislative process where it belongs, but rather through an attempted legislative amendment. Former Florida Lieutenant Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, has been outspoken on the issue and explained the many reasons this constitutional amendment would be misleading to the public and the wrong legal avenue to regulate the industry. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Major B. Hardin joined the legal efforts as well. The primary method for stopping this dangerously deceptive decoupling amendment is a lawsuit and it now appears a full trial wont be necessary. An online source reports: 

A circuit judge has canceled a July trial over the ballot language in Amendment 13, which would ban greyhound racing in the state of Florida. The Florida Greyhound Association claims the ballot summary is misleading and is asking for the proposed constitutional amendment to be removed from the November ballot. Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers has decided to forego a trial and instead make her decision based on legal arguments alone.

The proposal, placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission, would outlaw greyhound racing at dog tracks by 2020, a process known as “decoupling.” Tracks would still be allowed to operate other, more lucrative gambling activities, such as slot machines and poker rooms.

“You can lie to the CRC, you can even lie to the media,” said Jack Cory, with the Florida Greyhound Association. “You cannot lie to the court under oath without severe consequences. So we’re very comfortable with where the judge’s ruling was.”

Regardless of how the circuit court rules, both sides are gearing up for a heated legal battle, which will likely end up in the Florida Supreme Court.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 06/25 – 07/01

Cemetery owners embezzled $500K

The former owners of a York County cemetery have been charged with scamming customers out of $500,000. U.S. Attorney David Freed said Friday that a grand jury in U.S. Middle District Court indicted Theodore Martin, 54, and his 47-year-old wife Arminda, with mail fraud and conspiracy. Investigators claim the Martins embezzled the funds while operating Suburban Memorial Gardens in Dover. Some of the money was used for gambling, the feds said. They said that between 2003 and 2016 the Martins stole money provided by about 200 customers for prepaid services for burial plots and vaults, caskets and grave markers. Each charge against the Martins carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, Freed said. He said the charges stem from a probe by the inspector general’s office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Fletcher man free on bond after being charged with embezzlement

A Fletcher man is free on $15,000 bond after being charged with embezzling livestock funds. He was targeted during an investigation by a Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) special ranger. Marty Robert Maahs, 33, made his initial appearance April 9 in Jackson County District Court, where he was charged with felony counts of obtaining cash under false pretenses, embezzlement greater than $25,000 and sale of secured property, court records indicate. Bank officials were concerned of possible illicit activities by Maahs in connection to a bank loan valued at more than $1 million, in which he put up cattle as collateral. Through the investigation’s course, Williamson said he discovered that Maahs had disposed of livestock proceeds without payment to the bank. The investigation also revealed embezzlement of livestock funds, false statement and representation of collateral to the bank and the sale of mortgaged personal property without payment to the bank. Investigators believe that gambling may have been where the stolen money went.

More than 100 birds, other animals rescued from alleged cockfighting ring in KC

It’s a Kansas City first, according to police. More than 100 birds were rescued Wednesday in a suspected cockfighting operation busted on the east side of Kansas City. The cockfighting ring was discovered by an animal control officer when he was called out to the neighborhood near 24th Street and Cypress Avenue for a stray dog. When he got in the area, he heard a bunch of the sounds of chickens and suspected something sinister was going on. “These animals have been bred to fight,” said KCMO Animal Control Special Investigator James Donovan. “They were very aggressive. They attacked several of our officers when they were trying to remove them.” “Usually there is gambling and narcotic activity that goes along with this type of operation, but it is a pretty good sized business otherwise people wouldn’t be doing it,” Donovan said. In total, 134 birds were seized including roosters, hens and chicks and nine dogs and puppies for a total of 143 animals in this small space.

Shots Fired, Man Arrested After Robbery at Missoula Casino

A man is currently in custody at the Missoula Police Department after receiving multiple charges following a robbery at the Nickel Ante Casino April 13. According to Police Sgt. Mike Herbert, the alleged robber pointed a gun at a casino employee and demanded money. Witnesses said that Antil allegedly fired numerous rounds as he was being followed by people from the casino. No one was reported injured in the shooting. The suspect later admitted to the police department via court documents that he fired his gun. Unlike other counties, Missoula County, which is located in western Montana, has seen numerous casino robberies in the past few years.

Defendant pleads guilty in illegal gambling business involving video slot machines

A Walnut Creek resident pleaded guilty Friday to conducting an illegal gambling operation involving video slot machines installed at businesses from Sacramento to San Jose. In violation of California law, the organization, including Levy, installed and maintained video slot machines at businesses open to the public across Northern California. The members split the proceeds of the machines with the owners of the small businesses where they were installed. 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 in May 2017 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.

300 birds seized in Powhatan cockfighting operation 

Two men pleaded guilty to running a cockfighting operation in Powhatan County that involved more than 300 fighting birds. Authorities seized more than 300 gamebirds from the property, along with a dog and two pigs. A large quantity of animal fighting paraphernalia was seized from the property including 122 short knives, sparring muffs, and medication and supplements used to enhance the gamebirds ability to fight. The cases were prosecuted by attorneys with Attorney General Herring’s first in the nation Animal Law Unit, with assistance from Powhatan officials, the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force, Louisa CART, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the ASPCA. In 2015, Herring created the nation’s first OAG Animal Law Unit to serve as a training and prosecution resource for state agencies, investigators, and Commonwealth’s Attorneys around the state dealing with matters involving animal fighting, cruelty, and welfare. Illegal animal fighting is closely tied to illegal gambling, drug and alcohol crimes, and violence against animals has been shown to be linked to violence towards other people.

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