A Brief Look at Crime 08/06 – 08/12

6-year sentence for woman who embezzled $4.3 million 

A New Freedom, Pa. woman says gambling addiction is why she embezzled $4.3 million while working at the Susquehanna Valley Surgical Center in Harrisburg. Donna Marie Wozniak, age 57, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and tax evasion in August 2017. She had worked as the business manager at the surgical center from 2000 until she was fired in 2014. Now she is serving a 71-month sentence. A forensic audit found Wozniak had written company checks to herself and then manipulated accounting software to cover her tracks. When confronted, she confessed to the thefts. The IRS charged Wozniak with tax evasion because she did not report the illicit income.

Gambling addict teacher stole £100k to blow on Las Vegas holiday

A former Solihull teacher stole £100,000 of tax repayments to spend on online gambling, a holiday to Las Vegas and Leeds Utd football matches. Blaine Wakeman, 26, lied about purchases and financial losses from his two companies that provided children’s sports coaching to fraudulently claim VAT repayments. The Leeds Utd supporter has now been handed a suspended 21-month prison sentence following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Facebook pictures show Wakeman previously enjoying a luxury holiday to the gambling capital of the world – Las Vegas. He posed for pictures outside Caesars Palace and during a trip to the Grand Canyon. A probe discovered Wakeman had used the cash, totalling £100,000, to fund an online gambling habit. Richard Young, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Wakeman knew what he was doing was wrong. “He was abusing the tax system to fund a lifestyle he couldn’t legitimately afford.” He added: “Tax fraud is not a victimless crime. It affects us all by depriving the public services of vital funding.

Admitted gambling addict gets prison for embezzling $400K from OKC company

An admitted gambling addict has been sentenced to 19 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $400,000 from an Oklahoma City company. “It’s not the gambling or the money that’s going to make me happy,” Frederick Boone Price told an Oklahoma City federal judge during his sentencing Thursday. “I know what’s important now.” Price wiped tears from his eyes. “I never thought I’d be in this situation,” he said. “I am truly apologetic.” U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot told Price that his gambling addiction doesn’t justify his criminal conduct. The judge ordered Price to pay $393,316 in restitution. Price, 33, of Weatherford, pleaded guilty to wire fraud last year. Defense attorney Julia Summers said Price’s actions were driven by his gambling addiction.

Former Service Container Co. controller gets 2 years for embezzlement

Prosecutors charged Weber in January in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin with one count of fraud. He also reached a plea agreement at that time and entered a guilty plea in February. According to court documents, Weber used his position to embezzle $592,006.53 through unauthorized credit card purchases, debit card transactions, check payments, insurance premiums and an unauthorized bonus. Weber used company credit cards for online and in-person gambling and personal expenses at stores and restaurants. To hide his activities, he wrote out-of-sequence checks and impersonated company owner Bob Hamilton to secure loans to pay off the debts. “The effects of Mr. Weber’s actions were felt most by the Hamilton family—especially Bob and Molly—but they were also felt by other employees (who lost their jobs) and vendors who no longer had a reliable trade partner.”

Online gambling addict stole every penny of his grandmother’s £430,000 life savings

A man addicted to online gambling stole his frail grandmother’s entire £430,000 life savings to fund his habit, a court heard. Darren Gledhill, 30, set up online banking for Sandra Gledhill and then betrayed her trust by ruthlessly plundering the funds over three years. She moved into a care home suffering from dementia during this time and the crimes only came to light when she was found to be more than £40,000 in arrears for payment of her fees. Mrs Gledhill was in her 70s when she died in January, leaving her three children with no inheritance because of her only grandson’s crimes. Yesterday Gledhill, a manager with Sainsbury’s, was jailed for 28 months at Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to theft.

Bookmaker 32Red fined £2m for encouraging problem gambling

The gambling watchdog has fined 32Red £2m after it found the bookmaker offered bonuses to problem gamblers. 32Red, which was sold to Swedish gambling company Kindred last year for £175.6m, admitted to a string of failures following an investigation by the Gambling Commission. Between November 2014 and April 2017 a customer was able to deposit £758,000 with 32Red but social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks were not performed. And in at least 22 incidents, the probe found 32Red failed to identify customers were problem gamblers and offered them free bonuses to keep them wagering bets.

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

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