Monthly Archives: October 2018

Guest Article: CEO of Florida Chamber of Commers supports Yes on Amendment 3

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing progression of Amendment 3 – Voter Control of Gambling in Florida.  Numerous sources have provided support for the amendment, but perhaps one of the most telling is the support it gets from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  Below is the guest article by CEO Mark Wilson as published by The Florida Times Union:

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for restraint in amending Florida’s Constitution. We believe our constitution should only be amended in rare and extraordinary circumstances.

Amendment 3, which would require voter approval of future gambling expansion, meets that threshold. Keep in mind, Florida is creating 1 out of 11 new jobs in America. We don’t need the casino industry, they need Florida.

Rather than introduce anything new, the amendment simply reinforces language already in the constitution — a provision that gives voters the final say on gambling decisions. Florida voters inserted that protection in 1968 and it’s important we don’t let politicians work around it.

Their reasons for doing so remain valid today. The widespread introduction of Las Vegas-style casinos in Florida brings dubious benefits and potentially serious consequences for our state. Any decision to go in this direction should be done so with due diligence, much caution and voter input.

Voters exercised such caution when considering five gambling referendums from 1978 to 2004. Three times they rejected large casino resorts in Florida. But they also approved the Florida Lottery and the limited introduction of slot machines in Broward and Miami-Dade pari-mutuels.

Since 2005, when Florida lawmakers began attempting to take over gambling decisions, the restraint of voters has been replaced by the politics of Tallahassee. The drumbeat for more and bigger casinos from the powerful gambling lobby has been loud and non-stop.

There is no end game here. No matter how many casinos might be approved, there always will be pressure for more. We have seen this in other states, where the gambling industry continues to push for expansion even in markets so glutted that existing casinos are losing business and even going bankrupt, sometimes at taxpayer expense.

Consider New Jersey. The Atlantic City casino market imploded in 2014 because of an over-saturated market, throwing thousands out of jobs and the city into an economic depression.

However, New Jersey requires voter approval of gambling expansion. And by an overwhelming margin, voters rejected new casinos.

Voters serve as a controlling mechanism on an industry that often has no self-control of its own. They slow down decision-making and ensure the pros and cons of casino expansion are fully and publicly vetted.

As the organization representing Florida businesses, the Florida Chamber is focused on making Florida more competitive, and the casino business model is anything but that. It is not one that grows the economic pie, but rather one that often cannibalizes existing economic activity.

Casinos represent the past, whereas Florida is moving into the future.

This year Florida’s GDP topped $1 trillion, which if we were a country would place us 17th in the world. Florida’s economy is the 20th most diversified economy in American and wages are increasing.

U.S. News & World Report ranked us first nationally in higher education and the University of Florida now ranks among the top 10 public universities.

Noted University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith describes Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession as “Phoenix-like.” One reason for that is Florida’s remarkably resilient tourism industry.

The Florida Chamber sees strong economic growth in Florida for the next 30 years.

All this is not by accident. It is due to a competitive business climate, smart policies and strong fiscal leadership.

The international casino conglomerates are desperate to get a toehold in Florida, not to add to what we have created but to feed off it.

Florida has come too far to go down this path without the people of Florida having a say. I’ll be voting yes on Amendment 3 because Florida’s future is worth protecting.

/Mark Wilson is CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Email: <>./


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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/15 – 10/21

Gambling business manager shoots and kills nephew, who was called to calm him down

A manager at a gambling establishment shot and killed his nephew Saturday after a co-worker called the victim to calm his uncle down, Hernando deputies reported. Authorities arrested Roger Vazquez, 56 of Spring Hill, on homicide and assault charges, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday. Vazquez killed Raymond Correa, 44, deputies said. The incident began after 5 p.m., according to a release by Sheriff’s Office spokesman Michael Terry, at Lucky Fish Games on the 10400 block of Northcliffe Boulevard. Vazquez, a manager at Lucky Fish Games, had been “acting erratically,” witnesses told deputies, according to the release. He was waving a loaded gun inside the business. His co-worker, Laau Paselio, called the store owner, Jose Santana. Santana decided to call Vazquez’s nephew, who can usually calm his uncle down, witnesses said. Correa, the nephew, arrived at Lucky Fish Games and talked with his uncle, persuading him to unload the gun and put it down. But Vazquez then pulled out a second gun and pointed it at his nephew. Deputies did not report what led to him drawing the firearm.

Canadian man sentenced for bilking US victims out of $18M

A Canadian con man who bilked at least 60,000 U.S. residents through a cross-border telemarketing scheme has been sentenced to federal prison. A judge in Los Angeles sentenced Mark Wilson on Monday to more than 11 years behind bars. Prosecutors say the Vancouver man targeted mainly the elderly with a scheme that sold them a non-existent credit card protection service. The victims were charged about $300 for phony protection against — ironically — fraudulent credit card charges. Authorities say the scam raked in about $18 million from people in 37 states. Prosecutors say Wilson funded a lavish lifestyle that included luxury boats, a fleet of cars, Las Vegas gambling jaunts and an offshore bank account in the South Pacific. In March, Wilson was convicted of mail and wire fraud.

Accountant sentenced for embezzling millions to gamble

A 35-year-old staff accountant who embezzled more than $500,000 from a Wichita company has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison. Phillip Jelinek, of Wichita, was sentenced Tuesday for felony theft after he stole at least $587,000 over two years from A-OK Enterprises in Wichita. Prosecutors say he transferred money from the company’s PayPal accounts into his personal bank account and used some of it to gamble. The Wichita Eagle reports that the company estimated Jelinek embezzled about $1.5 million. The Sedgwick County district attorney’s office said Jelinek’s crimes forced A-OK to declare bankruptcy, lay off employees and close some Wichita locations. Jelinek asked to be placed on probation because he is seeking treatment for a gambling addiction and sold his home to help pay back the money.

Online sports bookie in Texas must serve 3 years, pay $7M

A convicted online bookie in West Texas must serve three years in federal prison and pay $7 million in what prosecutors call an illegal sports gambling and tax scam. Prosecutors say 40-year-old Jose Abelardo Dominguez of Odessa was sentenced Wednesday in Midland. Dominguez in June pleaded guilty to money laundering and tax evasion. Authorities say Dominguez, from 2011 to 2016, offered illegal opportunities for online sports bets. Dominguez in 2014 earned more than $2.3 million through the online gambling operation but reported taxable income of only about $63,000. A federal judge also ordered Dominguez to pay more than $1.9 million to the IRS, plus a nearly $5.1 million judgment. Dominguez must also forfeit real estate in Ector and Midland County and about $515,000 in confiscated cash.

Lawsuit alleges Wynn cheated to win casino license

Casino mogul Steve Wynn and the company he founded lied and covered up misconduct to dupe Massachusetts into granting a license for a $2 billion casino, a former rival alleges in a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Boston’s federal court, says Sterling Suffolk Racecourse would have prevailed over Wynn Resorts had there been an “honest competition.” Instead, Wynn Resorts fixed the application process and concealed Wynn’s sexual misconduct to illegally secure a license for the Everett casino that’s scheduled to open in June, the lawsuit alleges. Wynn resigned as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts in February, and the company renamed its casino from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him. Wynn denies the allegations. “The Wynn Defendants were granted a license to operate their casino on a toxic waste site loaded with levels of arsenic still so high that a child day care center would not be permitted to be housed there, even after the site was remediated and the regulations amended to countenance higher levels,” says the lawsuit, which alleges Wynn broke racketeering laws.

Former Hudson Valley Comptroller Embezzled $2.5 Million

A Hudson Valley man, employed by two local companies, embezzled over $2.5 million to fund his gambling and more. On Thursday, Mark Cina, 56, of Poughkeepsie was sentenced to 41 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion. “Mark Cina embezzled millions of dollars to line his pockets at the great expense and suffering of his trusting employer, a Hudson Valley entrepreneur and small businessman,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a press release. “Theft like the defendant’s is intolerable, and today’s sentencing shows that an employee’s choice to engage in such a crime is a choice to go to prison.” A complaint unsealed in Southern District of New York court in July 2017, allegedCina embezzled over $2.5 million from two Town of Poughkeepsie manufacturing companies where he was comptroller, over the course of at least seven years. One company’s work included a solar-powered ring of lights encircling the top of MetLife Stadium. The other local company molded plastic.

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

Who should vote No on Florida Amendment 13? Those who oppose radical expansion of gambling and Those who want to join over 90 Dog Adoptions Agencies because they believe it hurts the best interest of Greyhounds

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the dangerously deceptive Greyhound Amendment and with the election right around the corner, its critically important that voters see through the deception.  Whether you are a dog lover or one looking to curb excessive gambling,  you should vote No on Florida Amendment 13  There are two reasons for a No on 13 vote and they are intertwined. 

The first reason to vote No on 13 is because it will result in a radical expansion of gambling.  As previously noted, Circuit Judge Karen Gievers calls it outright “trickeration,” because the decoupling issue is largely misunderstood by the public at large.  Right now, the only way these tracks can offer slot machines and other forms of gambling is if they operate a full racetrack.  This bill doesn’t simply stop dog racing.  In fact, it doesn’t stop racing at all, as races from other states will still be simulcast to the tracks.  However, the need to house a full track and care for the greyhounds in the proper and well regulated manner the law provides for today will no longer become necessary to have that other gambling.  This effectively means that tracks can operate as freestanding mini casinos and the only requirement is they simulcast races from other states. 

 The reason we don’t see a massive expansion of these mini-casinos now, is because it takes very qualified operators to raise and care for the dogs and maintain the space necessary for such races to physically occur.  Absent the need for an actual track, its infinitely easier for a “greyhound” parlor to start up, because it can simply fill the building with slot machines and provide a few TVs for simulcast dog racing.  It has been claimed that this could lead to the largest expansion of gambling in Florida, and it’s easy to see why.  If you would ordinarily be opposed to gambling expansion, then don’t be deceived.  This bill won’t reduce gambling by stopping dog races as you think.  It will expand gambling in the worst ways.

 The second reason to vote No on 13 is because of the wellbeing of the dogs involved.  At face, the amendment seems to get rid of dog racing as previously discussed, but its clear racing will still happen.  In this scenario however, the amendment will have negative impacts on the dogs.  This is precisely why over 90 dog adoption agencies are voting No on 13.  The following article, Guest Opinion: A No on 13 Vote is a Yes to the Best Interest  of Greyhounds, comes from an avid dog lover and greyhound enthusiast.  It is incredibly informative and explains from a dog lover’s perspective why a voter would want to oppose this amendment:

As one who has adopted two retired racers, I was initially torn when I saw this amendment. A ban on racing sounds like a good thing on the surface to a dog-lover.

Shouldn’t all dogs be spoiled like mine with couches for beds and baskets of chew toys? My first clue that this might not be the case came in my email inbox. I received my usual newsletter from the Greyhound adoption agency that we had used. The email stated their opposition to the amendment.

Quite frankly, I was shocked that this volunteer run organization, who put our family through an extensive adoption process which included thorough home visits, vet background checks, multiple references and intense education, was now explaining how the claims made by the proponents of the deceptive ban and Amendment 13 were unsubstantiated. They, along with 90+ adoption agencies, are in opposition to the amendment and encourage a “NO” vote.

After receiving the email, I went on a quest myself to find out more facts….

She goes on to outline very key points that dog lovers will want to learn, including the fact that there are absolutely no provisions in the amendment for dealing with the 8,000 or more greyhounds that will be displaced when live racing is banned.  Please click on article to get all the information and share as much as possible.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/08 -10/14

Man found dead in creek ID’d as witness in casino fraud case

The body recovered from Mill Creek on Saturday has been identified as a Shavertown man who was a key witness in a fraud and theft case at Mohegan Sun Pocono casino. Matthew Crane, 28, was the man whose body was found floating in the creek at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Dan Hughes, Luzerne County’s chief deputy coroner. Three people walking by spotted Crane’s body in the creek, near a bridge that separates Mayock Street in Wilkes-Barre from Oak Street in Plains Twp. One member of the group said the dead man appeared to have a wound to his head. Crane, while working as a table dealer at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2015, informed authorities about a scheme to defraud the casino of hundreds of thousands of dollars through free slots play with the use of duplicated player cards and personal information numbers, according to court records. Police in January 2016 charged Robert Pellegrini, a former casino vice president, and Mark Heltzel, a frequent casino patron, with theft and related charges in connection with the scheme. At the time he reported the scheme, Crane was romantically involved with Rochelle Poszeluznyj, a beverage server at the casino who conspired with Pellegrini and Heltzel and was also charged, according to a police affidavit. Crane’s body was recovered about 2 miles downstream from the casino, according to online mapping applications.

Nevada regulators reject deal with sports books operator 

Nevada gambling regulators rejected a proposed settlement on Thursday with a troubled sports books operator, which admitted to taking unlawful bets and making inaccurate payouts, and suggested revoking the company’s license. The Nevada Gaming Commission deemed the suggested $250,000 fine against CG Technology too low when compared with the multi-million-dollar fines previously paid by the company. With the company’s CEO present during a public meeting, commission members chastised the operator for its persistent regulatory troubles. “Basically, you’ve been called into the principal’s office three times, and each time, it’s maybe a little bit different but a lot of it is repeat issues,” commissioner Deborah Fuetsch said. “And you’ve been given the opportunity to make the business right, and that hasn’t happened. And because you can’t get your business in order, you are damaging the reputation of the gaming industry of the state and the integrity of the game.” The company paid fines of $5.5 million in 2014 and $1.5 million in 2016 to settle disciplinary actions. The first fine is the largest settlement penalty in state history. CG Technology is now facing a four-count complaint after the company reported a number of issues to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The operator told regulators it had accepted wagers on its mobile app from customers outside Nevada; underpaid or overpaid customers; took wagers on college football games that had ended already; and incorrectly set up a satellite sports betting station at a Super Bowl party this year that had a different point spread and total over-under than what other patrons were offered.

Gambler gets seven years for defrauding company

A 51-year-old Shelby Township man who stole nearly $4 million in a Ponzi scheme was sentenced to seven years in prison for a separate theft of about $150,000 from a local business. Gino Accettola was ordered to serve 84 months to 20 years behind bars after pleading no contest to embezzlement over $100,000 in Macomb County Circuit Court for stealing from a Clinton Township credit-card processing company owned by a friend. “Your record says you are a thief,” Judge Jennifer Faunce told Accettola. “You involve yourself in schemes that cause people to lose out.” Accettola in January 2017 was ordered to repay $12 million to 11 plaintiffs in default judgments in civil court after being accused in a lawsuit of stealing $3.8 million. Accettola represented to his victims that their funds were investments for construction projects didn’t exist, according to the lawsuit. Accettola lost approximately $1.5 million gambling at MGM Grand Detroit casino, most of it in 2014 and 2015, and lived a lavish lifestyle, according to another lawsuit.

‘Gambling condition’ uncovered in law-firm embezzlement case

A Racine woman, indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month for reportedly embezzling more than $775,000 from her now-deceased father’s Racine law firm, likely has a gambling problem, according to documents filed after her arraignment Wednesday. During Kathleen A. Fetek’s arraignment on Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty to the charge of mail fraud. Documents state that evidence in the case against Fetek includes thousands of pages of law firm records bank accounts, as well as records from Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee. The document goes on to point out that Fetek “has recorded extensive losses at the casino.” According to Fetek’s order for release, she is prohibited from visiting any gambling establishments or participating in online gambling.

More Than 1,500 Animals Seized In Dog And Cockfighting Operations At A Wisconsin Home

Police seized 20 pit bulls and about 1,500 hens and roosters, many of which were destined for fighting, from a home in western Wisconsin. The dogs and birds were “living in deplorable conditions,” according to a joint statement issued Thursday by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “You could tell they were used for fighting,” Sheriff Nancy Hove told NPR. Officers found the dogs with scars and injuries. They were attached to heavy chains, “almost logging chains.” The roosters’ feet were cut, indicating razor blades had been attached to their feet, Hove said. Agents also found a square, wooden box – a fighting ring set up in one of the barns. Hove said the magnitude of the discovery was uncommon in their county, at least in the 35 years she has been in law enforcement. About a year ago, her agents seized some 50 dogs. “This is the second large-scale animal cruelty case we have encountered in the past two years,” she said.

Casino worker charged in nearly $200K theft

n Alabama casino worker is charged in the theft of nearly $200,000 that authorities say was taken from the gambling operation. The Montgomery Advertiser reports Courtney Deandrea Stanton has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and theft charges from the Wind Creek Montgomery casino. Stanton is charged in federal court since the alleged theft occurred at a tribal casino operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Evidence shows Stanton is accused of checking out keys to a cash kiosk and then leaving them atop the machine after speaking to someone. Timothy Dean Pettiway was previously charged with stealing almost $200,000 in cash from the casino last month. Pettiway pleaded not guilty on Monday. A federal prosecutor says none of the missing cash has been recovered.

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

Former Florida House of Representatives Will Weatherford provides a politicians perspective for giving the power to the people with a Yes on Amendment 3 vote

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing progression of Florida Amendment 3.  As the election approaches, its important to understand they wide array of support for Amendment 3.  Former Florida House of Representative Will Weatherford provided a much needed perspective in a guest article published by Florida Politics:

I am writing today to deal with unfinished business.

After spending eight years in the Florida Legislature, the last two serving as speaker of the House, I came to a conclusion about the future of casino gambling in Florida.

Some decisions are better put into the hands of the people.

So, in 2014, I proposed a constitutional amendment giving voters control over gambling. The idea never made it through the Legislature and on to the ballot, but the need for it has not diminished. So, Florida voters took matters into their own hands.

More than 1 million Floridians signed petitions to put Amendment 3 on the ballot. It puts the voters in charge of gambling decisions.

I would like to claim I was ahead of the curve in promoting this idea four years ago.

But back in 1968, my predecessors in the Florida Legislature had the same idea. They recognized that gambling wasn’t just another issue. The impact casinos could have on communities and the state warranted a higher authority than the Legislature to sign off on gambling expansion decisions.

And so they deferred to the people, putting a provision in the Florida Constitution that prohibited most forms of gambling, unless voters passed an amendment to allow them.

Five times, from 1978 to 2004, voters weighed in on gambling initiatives. They rejected three proposals to build Las Vegas-style casinos, but they also approved the Florida Lottery as well as slot machines in Broward and Miami-Dade pari-mutuels.

The conclusion might be voters were open-minded, yet understandably cautious.

If only Florida lawmakers left well enough alone. But instead, in more recent years, state legislators went in the opposite direction of their predecessors from 1968. Faced with conflicting legal opinions, the Legislature considered dozens of proposals that would greatly expand casino gambling in Florida without voter signoff.

From my personal experience, I can tell you this was a mistake. Casino interests have become one of the most powerful special interest groups in Tallahassee. The pressure they apply to the political process is nonstop. It is why, almost every legislative session, we see casino expansion on the agenda.

The Legislature only meets for 60 days every year, so there is much to do and little time to do it. The time, energy and resources spent on gambling bills have made them an ongoing diversion. It is frustrating to see the priorities of Floridians — such as jobs, education, health care and the environment — take a back seat to the priorities of casinos.

I have heard many times the call for Tallahassee to come up with a “comprehensive solution’’ to gambling — that we can allow a resort casino here or there, open the door to more slot machines outside South Florida and then call it a day. It is a mythical concept. No matter how many casinos are approved, no matter how many forms of gambling are allowed, the demand for more will come as quickly as the next legislative session. It is what I once called the drip, drip, drip of gambling expansion.

In watching this process play out, I began to appreciate the wisdom of our predecessors in 1968. Tallahassee is not the place for gambling decisions.

If nothing more, taking gambling off the political agenda will allow lawmakers to focus on the issues that matter most to their constituents.

Florida certainly wouldn’t be alone in allowing voter control over gambling. About half of the states have a similar requirement.

In the past few years, voters in states such as New York, New Jersey, Maine, Ohio and Maryland have weighed in on gambling expansion. If there is a trend in how they decide, it is that they weigh each proposal on its individual merits, approving some and rejecting others.

Consider New Jersey. In 1978, voters there became the first in the country to approve a major expansion of gambling, allowing casinos in Atlantic City. After multiple casinos there went bankrupt in 2014, gambling interests and their political supporters pushed for more casinos in northern New Jersey.

Almost 80 percent of voters rejected the idea, the most lopsided referendum result in the state’s history.

Voters know when to say when. They serve as a check and balance on the political process.

Voter control works. That is why I proposed restoring it in 2014 and why I support Amendment 3 now.


*Will Weatherford* served in the Florida House of Representatives from
2006-2014 and was House speaker from 2012-14.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/01 – 10/07

Judge sentences ‘pariah’ of Pawnee in embezzlement scheme that forced longtime business there to close

A woman dubbed a “pariah” in her hometown of Pawnee was sentenced to prison Friday in connection with the embezzlement of nearly $400,000 from her former workplace, which has since closed. A federal judge sentenced Krystal K. Smith, 45, to 18 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to bank fraud and false income tax return charges. Smith, in a May 15 plea agreement with federal prosecutors, admitted to embezzling $385,999 from Columbia Metal Products Co., where she worked as an office manager. The Kansas City, Missouri-based company, which did business under the name Columbia Windows and Doors, had a presence in Pawnee for more than 30 years, Oklahoma Secretary of State records indicate. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McLoughlin told U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan during the Friday sentencing hearing that Smith’s actions, which began in 2009, caused a “ripple effect” across the community when the company officers discovered the scheme in 2016. “The company had to close its plant in Pawnee because of what happened,” McLoughlin said. Smith attributed her addiction to casino gambling for both the bankrupting of her family and the embezzlement of the company funds. For about the past 10 years, Smith’s gambling has been “completely out of control” with her gambling on a daily basis at the height of her addiction, according to the memo.

Police save baby from hot car outside RI casino; mother arrested

The mother of a 3-month-old girl was arrested for cruelty or neglect of a child after police found the baby in a hot car in a casino parking lot. Police say 26-year-old Halston Borglund left her daughter alone inside a car, covered by a blanket in the backseat, Wednesday morning. The driver’s window was down, and the car was running, according to an officer working security at the Twin River Casino, outside of which the baby was found. “I’m just curious why other people didn’t see that. I mean, people walk by – or even the car next to them, just look,” resident Janet Short said. The baby girl was taken to the hospital, where she is listed in fair condition. She is now in the custody of authorities. Police say Borglund told them she ran into the casino to grab her keys, but investigators later discovered she was inside for more than an hour and a half. “It’s crazy. You should never trade gambling for the life of some kids,” said casino visitor John Ferreira. Borglund has a criminal history that includes arrests for felony breaking and entering, identity fraud and felony larceny.

961,897 reasons Wichita lawyer is charged with taking from client

A Wichita lawyer told an FBI agent that he was a compulsive gambler being treated for addiction — who used some of his elderly client’s trust money for his gambling. And he used the money for a lot more than gambling and luxury cars, according to an affidavit filed in the criminal case against the lawyer, Larry Toomey. In all, Toomey took $961,897.25 from the woman’s accounts and spent it in ways that didn’t benefit his client, the affidavit says. The woman, identified only by her initials, is now 103 and living in a Wichita nursing home. The affidavit — a court document signed by an investigator and detailing why someone was arrested and charged — was released Wednesday after The Eagle requested it from Sedgwick County District Court. “Some notable transactions” from the one bank account included “gambling transactions for a total of $395,826.” When it was all over, the affidavit said, Toomey had violated his professional responsibilities and the Kansas Uniform Trust Code for seven years, until this past March. The investigators suspected, the affidavit says, that “the crime was concealed by the fact that Toomey didn’t keep a beneficiary” informed of expenditures from the trust.

Gambling ringleader dubbed herself the ‘LeBron James of poker’

The manager of an illicit West Village gambling speakeasy pompously described herself as “the LeBron James of poker,” prosecutors revealed Wednesday. Geeta Singh was captured on wiretap uttering the superlative, ADA Mark Mohr said Wednesday at her Manhattan Supreme Court arraignment, where she pleaded not guilty to six counts of promoting gambling. She was busted last week along with 32 others for allegedly participating in a large-scale drug and gambling ring, according to the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor. Mohr described Singh as a lead promoter of the “private” poker club operated out of an apartment at 446 Avenue of the Americas. Singh, who hails from India, used the online service “Meetup” to bring in clients and ran the tables, which required a minimum of $200 to play, the prosecutor said. The operation also peddled cocaine and heroin out of a separate apartment at 536 East Fifth Street. Singh and her three partners raked in $200,000 each a year from the drug and gambling enterprise, Mohr said.

Men Arrested After Nearly $200,000 Stolen From Casino 

Two men have been arrested on charges of stealing nearly $200,000 from an Indian casino in Montgomery. Federal court records show that Timothy Dean Pettiway and Jory D’Michael Trayvunn Dumas were arrested Tuesday on theft charges in the Aug. 10 heist at Wind Creek casino. However, court records show prosecutors are seeking to dismiss Dumas from the complaint. An FBI agent wrote in charging documents that $192,800 was missing from two customer kiosks near the casino floor. The agent said surveillance video showed that a casino employee, who was not charged, had left keys on top of a machine that had been malfunctioning. The agent said the video showed Pettiway kneeling in front of the kiosk holding a money cassette.

INTERPOL-Led Operation Busts Thousands of Illegal World Cup Gambling Dens across Asia

An INTERPOL-led operation during the 2018 World Cup invovled *thousands of raids being carried out* across the Asia-Pacific region and suspects being arrested on illegal gambling charges, the organization said in a Friday press release. The seventh installment of operation SOGA (short for soccer gambling) was conducted in the period between June 22 and July 16, or over the course of the major football championship. Coordinated by INTERPOL’s Organized and Emerging Crime Directorate and involving local police departments, *SOGA VII saw 14,900 raids at what appeared to be illegal gambling dens* be carried out. The illegal gambling operations were estimated to have handled more than $1.6 billion worth of bets ahead of and during this year’s World Cup. Raids took place across China, including Macau and Hong Kong, as well as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. During the nearly month-long operation, police seized more than 1,000 computers, mobile phones, and other equipment allegedly used for the provision of illegal gambling services as well as *more than $1.7 million in cash*. INTERPOL said Friday that the equipment seized is being analyzed to help police authorities in future operations and assist current investigations.

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

Yes on Amendment 3 – Voter Control of Gambling in Florida

Casino Watch Focus has reported the ongoing progression of Florida Amendment 3.  The Amendment found itself on the Nov ballot with easy and the polls have shown overwhelming support.  That said, it’s still important to clearly understand the three reasons why you should vote Yes on Amendment 3.  The Voters in Charge website provides great resources for those looking to dive deeper into the issue.  Luckily, it’s an extremely straight forward amendment that requires any gambling expansion decisions by the Florida legislator to be approved by voters before it can become law.  Voters in Charge provided three clear reasons why this is a very easy Yes vote:

  1. Amendment 3 empowers voters—not politicians and lobbyists.For decades, Florida voters decided casino gambling issues in the Sunshine State.  Then, politicians took that power for themselves.  Amendment 3 simply returns control of casino gambling issues to the voters.  That’s how it used to work in Florida—and how it still works in states across the country.  Most Americans already have the power to vote on casino gambling issues—you should, too!

  2. Amendment 3 reduces casino corruption.In the last decade, powerful casino gambling interests gave over $50 million to Florida politicians.  Today, they control many politicians—but they can’t control   Amendment 3 ends casino corruption by putting voters—not politicians and lobbyists—in charge of gambling decisions in Florida.

  3. Amendment 3 allows our elected officials to focus on more important issues.Unfortunately, casino interests have so much money and influence that they often “set the agenda” in Tallahassee.  Amendment 3 takes the power away from Tallahassee, so our elected officials can stop focusing on gambling and start working on issues that affect all of us, like: education, traffic, healthcare, jobs and the environment—just to name a few!


For more information, please watch the following brief video and visit the Voters in Charge website



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

A Brief Look at Crime 9/24-9/30

Man arrested, accused of killing teen during gamblers’ fight in Atlanta

A man accused of fatally shooting a teenager during an argument while gambling was arrested, Atlanta police confirmed. Andrew Dontavious Glass remained in the Fulton County jail Wednesday on murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery charges in the July 14 shooting in the 1200 block of Elizabeth Avenue in southwest Atlanta, police said. He was arrested Thursday. Authorities said they found the teen — identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office as Stacey Monts, 17, of East Point —in the kitchen dead from a gunshot wound. A man was found in the living with a gunshot wound to the buttocks. A second man who was shot was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Police have not released the identities of the injured man.

He helped a man gamble. It grew deadly when he asked for some of the cash, police say

A fatal stabbing in Illinois on Thursday might have started as an argument over gambling — and more specifically, $20, police say. Ray James, 48, was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder after police say he stabbed and killed 24-year-old Cody L. Drew late Thursday in the city of Decatur, according to the Herald-Review. James stabbed Drew “multiple” times, police allege. After his death was announced, the restaurant that employed Drew sent out a Facebook status revealing that it “lost one of its servers last night to senseless violence.”  “Cody Drew was an outstanding employee and remarkable young man. He lived an eventful life and squeezed every bit of enjoyment from each moment he lived,” it read. “I can still hear the joyous sound of his voice as he called out to the kitchen, ‘Yea, boy!’ Or ‘What’s gooood?.’” Police documents say that James had originally helped Drew as the 24-year-old played an electronic poker game, according to WANDTV. Drew won $150 after taking the advice, a witness told police, but he refused to give a portion of his winnings to James.

Nevada Sports Book Operator Accepted Online Bets From Gamblers Outside Of State 

A top Nevada sports book operator is in hot water once again with regulators, and this time it will have to dismantle its systems used to facilitate wagers. According to a complaint and settlement posted last week to the Gaming Control Board’s website, CG Technology, formerly known as Cantor Gaming, has admitted to accepting online-based wagers from gamblers across the country, which was in violation of Nevada casino regulations. State officials said the company self-reported the betting activity. The result is a $250,000 fine, as well as the firm being ordered to cease using its own technology and equipment. CGT can remain in business, but it must now use a third party tech and equipment manufacturer. Within six months, “CGT shall permanently discontinue the use of its sports pool wagering system and all of its components,” the GCB said.

Trappe man admits to thefts linked to ‘gambling problem’

A Trappe man faces jail time and a hefty restitution bill after he admitted to defrauding an online gambling site and banks to the tune of more than $140,000 during a bad check scheme. Saurabh Sood, 38, of the 100 block of Royer Drive, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to six to 23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft by deception false impression in connection with incidents that occurred in 2016. Judge Garrett D. Page also ordered Sood to complete three years’ probation following parole, meaning Sood will be under court supervision for about five years. Sood also must pay a total of $140,455 in restitution in connection with the case. The judge said Sood is eligible for the work release program during his incarceration. Investigators alleged Sood opened a checking account with a Berks County credit union in June 2016 and subsequently “started to write and pass checks against the account without making any deposits into the account to cover the amount of the checks that were written,” according to the criminal complaint. The account was closed in July 2016.

Robbery, Shooting At Possible Illegal Gambling Operation Leaves 2 Dead 

Two people are dead, and another is hospitalized, following a robbery and shooting at a possible illegal gambling operation in Detroit. It happened early Tuesday morning at a home on Andover Street off E. State Fair, between John R and I-75 just south of 8 Mile Road. One man, 30- to 35-years-old, was shot in the stomach and went into cardiac arrest. First responders attempted CPR but the man died on the scene. Another man, 55-years-old, was shot in the ankle and taken to the hospital. A third man who was not shot but was trying to escape the scene collapsed in a nearby yard. He was taken to the hospital where he was dead on arrival. It’s believed he suffered a heart attack.

Purported ‘made man’ from Staten Island sentenced in mob gambling and racketeering case 

Staten Island man who authorities said helped run a mob family’s racketeering and gambling operations is $125,000 in the hole after a federal judge ordered him to forfeit that amount of cash to the government. The forfeiture was part of Steven Pastore’s sentence, which also included two years in prison and two years’ supervised release, authorities said. In February, the defendant pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to racketeering conspiracy. Two years earlier, in May 2016, Pastore was among 18 suspects charged with racketeering activities allegedly carried out by the Genovese organized crime family. Pastore, a “made” member and soldier in the family, conspired with others from 2008 through the spring of 2016 to participate in the Genovese’s criminal affairs, said Manhattan federal prosecutors. Pastore was charged with racketeering conspiracy and participating in an illegal gambling business, authorities said. Prosecutors said wire taps showed Pastore had been in the gambling business for years.

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