A Brief Look at Crime 08/20 – 08/26

Police arrest man wanted for stabbing Bronx woman to death with screwdriver a month after killing his lottery winner uncle

A Bronx ex-con already wanted in the June murder of his lottery-winning uncle was busted for the lethal screwdriver stabbing of a Bronx secretary inside her company’s office, police said. Outraged family and friends of victim Wanda Rios, 45, said the arrest of suspect Idris Abdul-Muhaymin on murder charges did nothing to ease their heartbreak about Wednesday’s killing. “He’s a sick person,” said Rios’ neighbor Yali Tores, 37, about the alleged killer. “They should have caught him earlier so he couldn’t do this to somebody else. I’m still in shock.” Police, without providing any details, said the suspect knew Wanda Rios. The accused killer knew his earlier victim, too, cops said: His 73-year-old uncle Owen Dillard, stabbed to death inside a Mott Haven apartment on June 11. Dillard had just hit the lottery for $10,000 before the killing, while his nephew was deep in the hole with gambling debts, police said. It was unclear where Abdul-Muhaymin, identified two weeks ago as a suspect in the Diillard death, spent the month between the two murders.

Gambling debt drove man to murder his sister-in-law

Gambling debts and “onerous” payday loans lead a Standard man to murder his sister-in-law, fracture her skull, and bury her in a shallow grave, a prosecutor told the jury Wednesday in opening arguments in Putnam County Court. Clifford A. Andersen Jr., 68, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death, accused of killing Deborah Dewey, 62, of Ladd. He’s being held on $1.5 million bond and faces 20 to 60 years or more in prison, with no possibility of parole. Among that evidence: Video of Andersen entering a store to buy manure found at the grave, and of him at the truck stop where Dewey’s car was found. Photos of her blood on the door, carpet and the floor beneath the carpet of the home where investigators say she was killed, and her blood on the wheel of a carpet cleaner a witness saw him carrying into the home. Dewey had a history of withdrawals of several thousand dollars in the years before her death, money, Elward said, that was given to Andersen to pay his increasing gambling debts and “onerous payday loans.”

‘Bagman’ gets five years in prison for role in American Senior Communities scheme

Steven Ganote, described by prosecutors as the “bagman” behind a lucrative nursing home fraud scheme, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison. And Josh Burkhart, brother of the former American Senior Communities CEO who orchestrated the scheme, was sentenced to four months in prison for his role. Ganote and Burkhart pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to helping illegally obtain what prosecutors said was $19 million. The money came from overcharges and kickbacks from a variety of high-volume vendors for the state’s largest nursing home chain. Most of the payments were from government Medicare and Medicaid funds. Ganote pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and health care fraud; conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute; and money laundering. Prosecutors said Ganote caused a loss of $8 million while living a lavish lifestyle, flying on private jets, gambling in Las Vegas, renovating a vacation home in Florida and buying watches, diamonds and gold bars.

Warnings ignored: Investigator fired after raising concerns about casino money laundering 

A pile of $20 bills – some $600,000 — that was stacked higher than the casino cashier. It’s the surreal scene that stays with Joe Schalk from his time as the senior director of investigations at B.C.’s gambling regulator, GPEB. “She disappeared behind these bills to the point where all you could see was her eyes and forehead. It was a huge mountain of cash,” Schalk recalled. And reports of suspicious cash transactions were mounting too – ballooning more than 20 times to 2014, when Schalk’s team was estimating it would crest over $200 million in a single year. Schalk and his team were tasked with tracking this likely dirty money. They believed it was an international scheme. The gamblers, they believed, could be dupes, but the source of the money was likely criminal operations with reach around the globe. “The gambler receives the cash money from loan sharks, who receive the money from what I believe is criminal sources. The gambler loses the cash money gambling at the casino and ultimately repays his debt in the foreign jurisdiction,” wrote Schalk’s colleague in 2013.

That assessment was “precisely correct,” according to the recent report by Dr. Peter German, which examined money laundering in B.C. casinos, exploring its links to the drug trade, criminal gangs and even Lower Mainland real estate. But at the time, Schalk said no one seemed to be listening, even as the reports of suspicious money piled up. “Exponentially it kept growing. Huge numbers. It became more frustrating because less and less people were listening. And nobody was doing anything about it,” he said. In December 2014, he and his colleague were brought into an office, dismissed without cause, and walked out of the building. Schalk says it’s clear a message was being sent. “I think the noise that was being made needed to be quieted,” he said. The German report also concluded that the firings were disruptive to GPEB’s attempts to stop money laundering.

Poker Pro Ali Fazeli Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud in Sports Ticket Resale Scam 

Fazeli was facing two felony counts of wire fraud after being accused of scamming investors out of $6.2 million. Fazeli has claimed that he would use that money to buy and sell tickets to high value sporting events like the Super Bowl and World Cup, turning a profit in the process. But while the money was wired to Fazeli’s ticket brokerage, Summit Entertainment Group, most of those funds were never used to speculate on tickets. Instead, Fazeli was alleged to have used the money to gamble at Las Vegas casinos as well as to pay off gambling debts. Fazeli would be arrested in February following an FBI investigation, and was indicted in March. In the plea agreement, Fazeli reportedly admitted to transferring approximately $1.8 million to the Aria, where he used at least some of those funds to buy into high roller poker tournaments in 2016. Fazeli was a regular in the Aria’s high roller series throughout 2016, cashing at least 10 times in events with buy-ins of at least $25,000 during that year. Those wins make up the majority of his $2.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings.

Online Betting Reveals Possible Doubles Match-Fixing at Wimbledon

Officials at Pinnacle Sports flagged an early-round men’s doubles match at Wimbledon for suspicious betting patterns, something that could be an indicator that the match was fixed. While unusual gambling behavior around a match would never be considered conclusive evidence that the integrity of a contest had been compromised, it is an initial signal that can provoke further investigation. The questionable wagering happened around the first-round men’s doubles match between the Spanish pair of David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco, and their opponents, Joao Sousa and Leonardo Mayer. According to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Pinnacle began noticing a problem in the hour before the match began. A series of bets came in from accounts that had previously gambled on other suspicious matches, prompting the bookmaker to flag the match. “We followed our strict protocol when it comes [to] match-fixingalerts by notifying the authorities on site at Wimbledon andreducing our market offering immediately,” Pinnacle sports integritymanager Sam Gomersall told ABC. While ABC declined to identify the specific match for what the organization said were legal reasons, Pinnacle confirmed to other media outlets, including /The New York Times/, that it was the first-round match involving Marrero and Verdasco that drew their attention.

Experts say that tennis is a sport that is particularly vulnerable to match-fixing, particularly at the lower levels of the sport. With tens of thousands of matches every year and very little prize money on lower-level tours, players may be tempted to throw matches or give away individual points, games, or sets. The numbers appear to bear that out. From 2015 through 2017, operators and regulators passed along 779 alerts to the TIU. Typically, the vast majority of these alerts come from Challenger and Futures competitions.

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

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