A Brief Look at Crime 4/01 – 4/07

Wynn Gets Hit With $20 Million Fine By Nevada Gaming Control Board 

Wynn Resorts put on its best face in front of commissioners of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Earlier this month Wynn Resorts entered into a settlement with the gaming regulator, admitting to covering up multiple allegations and settlements with employees who were sexually harassed over decades. Commissioner John T. Moran, Jr. Commissioner for the Nevada Gaming Control Board said of the Wynn contingent gathered for the hearing, “/The people who caused this are not here … but the people here have to pick up the train wreck./” That train wreck will cost Wynn a record, amount as Moran echoed the thoughts of his fellow commissioners, “/I can support a $20 million penalty/.” Moran also acknowledged, “/We gotta get back to work/,” referring to putting this settlement behind both the Control Board and Wynn. For its part, Wynn sent CEO Matt Maddox and Chairman Phil Satre to take the blows on behalf of the company. Wynn has overhauled its board of directors and has fired (golden parachuted) a number of senior executives including former general counsel Kim Sinatra.

The settlement with Wynn stated a pattern of sexual harassment cases that had been privately settled and, more disturbing, covered up by the most senior executives at the company. There were also noted instances of management who “/facilitated sexual relationships between cocktail servers at Wynn Las Vegas and Mr. Wynn./” Steve Wynn, the co-founder of the company and its chairman / CEO resigned last year after a shocking Wall Street Journal Report that detailed a number of sexual harassment allegations by former employees. Mr. Wynn subsequently sold all shares of Wynn and no longer has any relationship with the company … other than the name.

Ex-County Official Gets 4 Years in Prison for Stealing $6.7M

A former county official from a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling more than $6.7 million in government funds. Peter Bang, who was the chief operating officer of Montgomery County’s economic development department, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis. The judge didn’t immediately rule on any restitution or forfeiture owed by Bang, a 59-year-old resident of Germantown. Bang pleaded guilty in November to both federal and state criminal charges. He faces a March 7 sentencing hearing for the state convictions. Prosecutors say he used most of the stolen money to feed a gambling addiction. U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement that the embezzled money could have been used for schools, libraries and other county expenditures.

Accountant Allegedly Stole $2 Million from New Orleans Firefighters’ Pension

“Wayne Triche devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud the New Orleans Firefighters Pension and Relief Fund (NOFPRF), and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises,” according to the grand jury charges. The indictment cited 34 unauthorized transactions totaling more than $1.8 million between 2013 and 2016. NOFPRF provided $5 million to American Pension Consultants (APC), a company Triche co-founded in 2002, so that the firm could purchase life insurance policies on the fund’s behalf. A promissory note restricted the use of funds from NOFPRF to the purchase of life insurance settlements and administrative expenses up to $119,000, and a payment to APC of $250,000. No other compensation to Triche was allowed per the promissory note. The charges allege that Triche siphoned funds belonging to the NOFPRF by transferring money held in bank accounts belonging to APC to accounts he personally controlled. It claimed the money was used for “payment of a civil judgment, gambling, home improvements, credit card payments, and living expenses.”

B.C. woman with gambling habit pleads guilty to embezzling $1.2 million from Calgary employer

When she was finally caught after stealing $1.2 million from her Calgary employer over a six-year period, Kelowna, B.C., resident Colleen Dhuga blamed a gambling addiction. Dhuga, 50, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud over $5,000 on Monday. “I see you have discovered my gambling habit,” said Dhuga when confronted by her employer in 2014. Dhuga admitted to forging cheques and stealing from company credit cards between June 2008 and March 2014. According to her financial records, Dhuga used the money at casinos, on travel, dining and other personal expenses. The details of Dhuga’s crimes come from an agreed statement of facts read aloud by prosecutor Shelley Smith. The thefts first came to light in 2014 when the Royal Bank of Canada noted unusual activity on the accounts. Dhuga was initially hired by David Anderson as a bookkeeper in 1995 but her role evolved into controller for his group of companies, which included Winsome Capital Inc., EmberClear Inc., Winsome Oil Marketing and Immersive Media Corp. Over the six-year period, Dhuga forged 185 cheques using a stamp with Anderson’s signature and depositing the money in her personal bank account. She also made 482 withdrawals from three corporate credit cards belonging to Anderson’s companies. She tried to cover up her crimes by telling the companies’ receptionist not to open any mail from the bank.

Former NFL player Pacman Jones arrested at Indiana casino

Former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam ”Pacman” Jones has been arrested and jailed after an incident at a southeastern Indiana casino. The Indiana Gaming Commission says Jones was arrested for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation, and resisting arrest early Wednesday at the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana, located about 25 miles southwest of Cincinnati. The commission says its agents were called to the casino ”to investigate a patron for possible cheating at a table game.” It says the 35-year-old Jones ”immediately became verbally combative and disorderly with agents and casino staff.” Jones was incarcerated at the Dearborn County Jail in nearby Lawrenceburg. Jones, a one-time Pro Bowler, spent eight seasons with the Bengals. He also played for the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. Jones pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge after a 2017 confrontation with hotel security personnel and an obscenity-filled tirade against arresting police officers in Cincinnati.

Ex-postal manager pleads guilty to stealing $630K in stamps

A former manager of a post office in a New Orleans suburb has admitted to stealing more than $630,000 in stamps and selling them online to support his gambling addiction, prosecutors said. Ryan Cortez, 46, pleaded guilty on Friday to misappropriation of postal funds in one of the largest internal postal thefts in U.S. Postal Service history, news outlets reported, citing a statement that U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser’s Office released Tuesday. Cortez was a manager at the North Kenner Post Office. Authorities had a warrant to search the Des Allemands resident’s home in October and arrested him after they found evidence connecting him to the ordering of the stamps. Investigators determined Cortez had increased the post office’s usual $70,000 in reserve stamps by more than $600,000. Internal controls had failed to detect the stamp thefts because he used another supervisor’s password to access the computer system. Cortez withdrew thousands of dollars regularly at the Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans, investigators said. Harrah’s records revealed he lost more than $667,000 since 2011, losing over $220,000 in 2017. Postal records show his annual salary was $70,818.

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