A Brief Look at Crime 08/13 – 08/19

Turtle Lake woman pleads guilty to wire fraud after embezzling more than $818,000 from Rice Lake church 

Deborah Marcellus, 63, of Turtle Lake pleaded guilty on Monday, July 2, in U.S. District Court in Madison to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return, charges that stem from her embezzlement of more than $818,000 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rice Lake. Marcellus served as the director of development for St. Joseph’s Church and so was responsible for handling all financial and accounting matters for the church. She began using computer software to generate checks to herself from multiple bank accounts belonging to the church. Marcellus forged the name of church leaders on the signature lines of the checks and then deposited them into her personal bank account. Between 2011 and April 2017, Marcellus generated 201 fraudulent checks from church bank accounts for a total of $818,604.06. Bank records demonstrated that Marcellus used the embezzled money for a large variety of personal expenses, including excessive gambling.

Gambler husband embezzled £150k from sick wife in coma and squandered cash gambling

A CALLOUS husband who embezzled £150,000 from the sick wife he cared for and squandered cash at ARCADES is behind bars. Bernard Houston, 53, started spending wife Peggy’s money when she suffered a brain aneurysm – weeks after they married. When her concerned family questioned the deterioration in her quality of life and changes to her appearance they were told the money was “none of their business”. Eventually Peggy’s family discovered credit card and loan applications, as well as bank statements in her name that he had “concealed” where she couldn’t reach them. When questioned by police he initially denied taking any money then admitted that he had “gambled away” the cash on gaming machines at amusement arcades.

Dotty’s slot casino chain settles discrimination suit for $3.5M 

The company that operates the Dotty’s casino chain in Nevada and Montana has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a disability discrimination suit, lawyers for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Wednesday. The EEOC filed the lawsuit earlier this year accusing the Las Vegas-based Nevada Restaurant Services Inc. of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commission lawyers said the slot machine operator illegally fired or forced employees to quit because they were considered disabled, had a record of disability or were associated with someone with a disability. In addition to the monetary relief that includes back pay for wrongly terminated workers, the company agreed to conduct new ADA training and submit regular reports to the government verifying compliance with the settlement over the next 3.5 years. Wendy Martin, local director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas office, said the suit was filed as part of the commission’s continuing “quest to identify and eradicate systemic disability discrimination.”

Lawyer gets 3 years prison for stealing millions in medical pot scam to pay off gambling debts

A Huntington Woods attorney was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for cheating investors out of millions of dollars by pretending he was investing their money in medical marijuana when he was really blowing it on gambling. In the end, U.S. District Judge David Lawson concluded Robert Gross, 49, deserved 36 months for his crime, for which he will also pay $3.6 million in restitution to his victims under the terms of his plea deal. In December, Gross pleaded guilty to fraud in U.S. District Court, admitting he ran a years-long scheme that duped numerous investors, including several of his law practice clients. According to court records, Gross convinced people to give him money for investments, claiming the funds would be used for a medical marijuana business and equipment lien repayment. Instead, prosecutors said, Gross used the money to pay down gambling markers and obtain new gambling credit at a casino in Las Vegas.

400,000 British teens lured into under-aged gambling through video games

More than 400,000 British teenagers have been lured into under-aged casino-style gambling through their video gaming, an investigation has revealed. The children, aged 13 to 18, have been able to gamble winnings from their video gaming on websites where they can bet them for cash on roulette wheel spins or other games of chance. The online gambling, which is illegal for under 18s, has been made possible by the creation of virtual items called “skins”, modified weapons or costumes that players can win or buy in video games. Giles Milton, Parent Zone’s head of content, said its investigation showed gaming firms were not doing enough to stop it: “It is gambling and children should not be gambling online. Parents need to understand what their children are doing with their money.” There are concerns the trade in skins – of which there are 6bn in circulation worth an estimated £10bn – could itself be fuelling the rise in addictive gaming among teenagers.

Woman convicted in $530K embezzlement case charged with tax evasion

A Middletown woman who served jail time for embezzling $530,000 from two former employers is facing new federal charges of tax evasion. A criminal information filed July 5 in U.S. district court alleges Fabian evaded paying $45,100 in federal income taxes. Fabian in 2016 pleaded guilty in Dauphin County Court to 76 counts of forgery, theft and related charges. She admitted she stole money from two insurance companies by forging company checks and depositing the money into her own account. She told investigators her gambling addiction fueled the thefts. Fabian was ordered to serve 11.5 to 23 months in prison, 20 years probation, and to pay restitution.

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

 

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