Police say a 49-year-old twice-convicted bank robber who died exchanging gunfire with police while trying to flee a casino robbery was responsible for a similar heist in November at the same Las Vegas Strip resort. Clark County Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank showed side-by-side photos Monday of Michael Charles Cohen wearing a bandage on his face, glasses and a black knit cap in robberies Friday and last November at the Bellagio resort. Cohen was fatally shot by police after trying to carjack a motorist and then shooting a police officer in his bulletproof vest in a hotel valet parking area. The officer escaped serious injury. His name was not made public. Hank says Cohen was previously convicted of bank robberies in Nevada in 1999 and 2008. In November, police say a car owner-turned-carjacking victim managed to free himself from the trunk of a getaway car while Cohen was inside the Bellagio robbing a poker room cashier.
A former Winnebago Tribal Council member pleaded guilty Thursday to theft from the tribe’s casino. Travis Mallory, 41, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Omaha to one count of theft of funds belonging to an Indian gaming establishment. Sentencing was scheduled for July 8. Mallory is the seventh former tribal official who has pleaded guilty to using WinnaVegas Casino Resort funds for pay for personal raises and/or bonuses. Charles Aldrich, Louis Houghton, Lawrence Payer, Thomas Snowball, former tribal chairman John Blackhawk and former tribal vice chairman Darwin Snyder all have been placed on five years probation and were ordered to pay restitution ranging from $36,000 to $36,500. Each pleaded guilty to theft from a gaming establishment. Nine former council members were indicted in July 2016 on charges of conspiracy, theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands and wire fraud. An FBI investigation determined that while on the tribal council, members had given themselves raises and bonuses totaling $327,500 directly from the tribe’s WinnaVegas Casino Resort without approving them at council meetings. The distributions were recorded on the casino’s books as miscellaneous administrative expenses.
A Kentucky lawyer who admitted to pocketing more than $1.3 million from clients to pay personal expenses that included gambling losses has been sentenced to eight years in prison. A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Friday says Danny Butler of Campbellsville also was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution. Butler pleaded guilty last year in federal court in Bowling Green to five counts of wire fraud for obtaining money from clients for legal work he didn’t do and to stealing money from estates Federal prosecutors said he lived an extravagant lifestyle and ran up gambling losses of $1.5 million. The scheme unraveled when two brothers waiting for proceeds of an estate contacted authorities about Butler’s continued excuses for not turning over the money.
There is a new form of gambling in town, and Arizona has been trying to stamp it out. Earlier this month, Arizona authorities seized more than $1 million in illegal gambling money from two Phoenix billiard halls. They also arrested nearly a dozen people. The billiard halls, which are in a largely Asian enclave, had illegal Dragon games in their back rooms. Dragon games are illegal gaming devices, and they represent a new wave of gambling in the state. Dragon Games are arcade games Asians love to place bets on. Another name for the games is “fish games.” Billiard halls in Arizona usually have a separate room for “fish games.” These are frequently back rooms with fish motifs. Patrons play all Dragon games the same way. They are a cross between slot machines and arcade games. In each game, the player puts money into the machine. He or she kills as many fish as possible. The amount of money a player wins depends on how many fish he or she has killed. Many fish games operate much like a multiplayer shooting tournament.
It is no secret that gambling can sometimes bring out the worst in people. When the stakes are high, people can sometimes get so enthralled with the huge jackpot that they will do anything to get the money in their possession and keep it. Illegal gambling rings are also more common than some may think. Law enforcement is cracking down on many of these operations, and those in charge of the illicit gaming rings pay for their crimes. Recently, a couple in Pensacola has been ordered to give up almost $6 million. The couple made money while facilitating illegal bingo games. The news comes from a release from the Northern District of Florida U.S. Attorney’s Office. The couple had been running the bingo games for years before being caught. Between 2006 and 2015, the Masinos received over $20 million from the illegal bingo games they were running at Racetrack Bingo, their business in Fort Walton Beach. The pair, as well as their three children, kept $5,813,584 of the profits from the bingo games. Recently, M. Casey Rodgers, a U.S. District Judge, signed off on a forfeiture order. The order will require the Masinos to return the money. The couple will also have to give up the three houses they bought using the money from their illegal business dealings.
Kosovo’s government said it will ban gambling for 10 years following the deaths of two casino workers this month during armed robberies in separate towns. After the deaths, customs officials raided dozens of gambling shops and found many of them were operating illegally. More than one hundred slot machines were confiscated. Only a state controlled lottery will be able to operate, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said during a government session on Tuesday at which the cabinet voted to back the 10 year ban. “It is total chaos, a total abuse and it is good that we are stopping this,” Haradinaj told a press conference. The ban proposal will now be sent to parliament for approval.
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