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.

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