A Brief Look at Crime 5/13 – 5/19

Manager of CBS employees’ credit union stole $40M over 20 years, authorities say

A credit union set up to serve employees of CBS was shuttered last week after its manager was accused of embezzling $40 million over 20 years, according to reports. If convicted on both counts, he faces up to 32 years in prison and a $1 million fine, Deadline Hollywood reported. Prosecutors say Rostohar, as manager, made online payments to himself from his employer or forged a fellow employee’s signature on checks made out to him. He gambled away much of the money and also financed a lavish lifestyle that included flights on private jets and purchases of expensive watches and sports cars, Variety reported. The alleged scheme began sometime before 2000, but suspicions were finally raised March 6 of this year, when another credit union employee discovered a $35,000 check made out to Rostohar with no record of the reason justifying the large sum, prosecutors said. That employee then conducted an audit and learned that checks totaling $3.7 million had been made out to Rostohar since January 2018, according to prosecutors. Rostohar was suspended from his job soon after, then arrested after his wife called 911, saying her husband had stolen money from his employer and was planning to leave the U.S., prosecutors said. Authorities said Rostohar later told them he had been stealing for 20 years, taking more than $40 million over that time. The information was later confirmed by the National Credit Union Administration, authorities said

Donora man pleads guilty to scamming $159,000 from retiree

A Donora man has pleaded guilty to using a mafia-style threat to bilk $159,000 from a retired schoolteacher in Lancaster County. Taylor was arrested in May 2017 by the state attorney general’s office on accusations he stole the money from Karen Fedrow of Lancaster while threatening that she would face retaliation from the mafia if she didn’t give him money, which amounted to the then-69-year-old woman’s life’s savings. He stole the money between February and August 2013, and then gambled it away at The Meadows Casino in North Strabane Township and other area casinos, prosecutors said. Taylor, who was a standout basketball player at Ringgold High School, told the woman she had to pay the boss before he would earn her returns through investments. The victim met Taylor in 2012 when she rented him a house she inherited in Westmoreland County. She told investigators she was charmed by him.

Former Gallatin County district court clerk admits to fraud 

A former elected Gallatin County Clerk of District Court pleaded guilty Tuesday to accusations of wire fraud and falsifying income tax return documents relating to her money managing consulting firm. Montana’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit received a complaint in 2015 that alleged Van Ausdol was misusing client funds. The unit began investigating, and in February referred the complaint to the Montana Department of Justice. The FBI later joined the investigation. The investigation showed Van Ausdol embezzled approximately $444,000 from her clients from 2010 to 2016. The investigation also showed Van Ausdol owed an additional $52,894 to the IRS in taxes because she did not report additional money received through her embezzlement. Van Ausdol admitted to embezzling money from her clients to law enforcement in 2015 and continued to work as a consultant. She told law enforcement that she used the money to cover gambling expenses.

New Jersey Seizes More Than $107K in Winnings From Banned Gamblers

New Jersey regulators have seized more than $107,000 won by underage or otherwise prohibited gamblers at Atlantic City’s Borgata casino. As part of the action made public recently by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, regulators also issued a fine of $81,000 for the Borgata’s online gambling partner, bwin.party. The company agreed to the fine and did not contest it. The cases involved gamblers who were under the legal age of 21 or those who voluntarily agreed to be barred from casino and online gambling for a period of time but were allowed to gamble sooner than they had been set out. Those so-called self-exclusion lists are meant to help people who feel they have a gambling problem. The Borgata says it takes gambling compliance seriously and notes that it discovered and reported the illegal gamblers to the state on its own.

Gambling addict mother stole £100,000 raised by Leeds United stars for her six-year-old cancer treatment

A mother who stole £140,000 raised for her six-year-old son’s cancer treatment has today been spared jail. Toby was diagnosed with rare cancer neuroblastoma on his fourth birthday in January 2017 and his family launched an appeal to raise £200,000 to pay for therapy which was not available on the NHS. Leeds United players and the club’s fans helped raise the cash for the six-year-old’s treatment but Worsley lost around £140,000 on online gambling sites, Leeds Crown Court heard. Toby passed away from a brain tumour in January this year, after a ‘long and courageous fight’. The court heard how Toby’s £200,000 treatment was eventually funded after Leeds United football club became involved in the fundraising. But the youngster died earlier this year, aged six. She admitted fraud at an earlier hearing. He said the cash had been recovered from the online gambling companies and West Yorkshire Police currently hold around £135,000 which would be given back to major donors and other charities. Nicholas De La Poer, defending, said: ‘The gambling started with the best of intentions and it became a compulsive distraction from the horrors of the situation.’ The barrister said the online betting ‘spiralled hopelessly out of control’ and ‘she was in the grip of it’.

White Plains developer Michael D’Alessio sentenced in $58M Westchester, NYC, Hamptons real estate fraud 

D’Alessio, 53, once a successful developer who had an office on Water Street in White Plains, was arrested in August on a federal wire-fraud charge in connection with an alleged years-long scheme to defraud investors in luxury real estate development projects in Westchester County, Manhattan and the Hamptons. D’Alessio promised investors that he would develop and build luxury homes and condominiums that would yield big returns, but when the real estate market took a downturn, he resorted to fraud, said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “In the end, all he built was a Ponzi scheme that he used to rip off his investors of their hard-earned life savings to the tune of $58 million,” Berman said in a statement. Michael D’Alessio, a White Plains developer who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of defrauding investors out of about $58 million, was sentenced Friday to six years in prison D’Alessio’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, petitioned the court, saying that D’Alessio is a “fundamentally decent man who unfortunately committed serious crimes” as he suffered from the “vicious grip of a compulsive gambling disorder” that Brafman said was further intensified by D’Alessio’s use of **a prescription medication.

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

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