A Brief Look at Crime 07/08 – 07/14

Sports bettor ‘Vegas Dave’ gets 3-year sportsbook ban

Prominent sports bettor David Oancea, known in gambling circles as “Vegas Dave,” must stay out of Las Vegas sportsbooks for three years, a judge ruled Monday. Along with the sportsbook restriction, U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey ordered Oancea to three years probation, gambling treatment and 150 hours of community service. Oancea was charged after authorities said he used other people’s Social Security numbers to open player accounts at casinos. The alleged crimes occurred between February 2015 and February 2016 and involved transactions that amounted to more than $1.2 million. The 42-year-old resolved the case by admitting to causing a violation of record keeping and procedures. Oancea has agreed to relinquish more than $550,000 in a related civil forfeiture. He also pleaded no contest last year to a disorderly conduct charge in Las Vegas Justice Court.

St. Louis-area executive accused of embezzling $3.8 million

The chief financial officer for a St. Louis-area company is accused in a federal indictment of embezzling $3.8 million. the Boyd Group, which owns real estate and operates stores that include The Bedroom Store, Boyd Sleep and Accent Furniture. The indictment says that from 2012 through January, Vonderahe issued about 500 company checks to himself, falsifying records to hide the thefts. He allegedly used the money for gambling, travel and other expenses.

Man to serve prison time for scheme involving Fountain residents 

Michael Lemay, the man who pleaded to guilty to scamming Fountain residents out of thousands of dollars, will spend the next several years in prison. During Monday’s court hearing, Deputy District Attorney Bradon Willms pointed out Lemay gambled $98,000 of the money he stole in Cripple Creek. Additionally, Lemay owes more than $167,000 to victims in El Paso County. Lemay admitted to having a gambling problem in court as he apologized for his actions. “I know a statement will not take the pain away,” Lemay said. Part of Lemay’s reasoning for his gambling was to help his two kids that he shares with an ex-wife. When the judge asked him if he was up to date on his child support payments, his ex-wife shouted from the back of the courtroom saying he was not current. The judge told Samantha Hugh there are steps to take when speaking in court.

Former NY cop faces 12 years for running gambling ring 

A vice cop with the New York Police Department (NYPD) was supposed to be fighting crime and eliminating activity such as mafia shakedowns and illegal gambling. Instead, he decided to use his position, and the knowledge he gained on the streets, to operate his own illegal gambling and prostitution ring that earned $2 million a year and services clients across Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. Ludwig Pax was ultimately busted for his entrepreneurial endeavor, along with his wife, Arelis Peralta, and the pair have copped to their activity in a Queens Supreme Court. The 51-year-old retired cop pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption and promoting prostitution. His wife pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption after having rejected a plea deal that would have led to a tougher sentence seven months ago. In 2015, the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau received a tip that led to the department launching an investigation against Paz and the other officers. Codenamed Operation Zap, the investigation spanned several months before the net was dropped over Paz and his conspirators. The tip had come from someone inside the department.

Former Dells bookkeeper tells court $350K embezzlement supported gambling addiction

A former bookkeeper/secretary accused of embezzling nearly $350,000 from the Lake Delton Fire Department Commission and the Dells-Delton Emergency Medical Services Commission said she took the money to support her gambling addiction. “I took funds from (the commissions)… to fuel my gambling addiction,” Czuprynko told District Judge William Conley. A search conducted of her desk Nov. 30 recoveredspreadsheets detailing her theft and documents from Ho-Chunk Casino, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber. Czuprynko embezzled by writing checks from the commissions’ accounts for her own use. Two signature stamps that Czuprynko bought and used to authorize checks also were found in her desk. The former bookkeeper said she kept spreadsheets of her thefts because she “always thought that I would repay the funds.” Czuprynko’s theft was investigated by the Lake Delton Police Department, which referred the matter to the FBI, which turned it over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution, Graber said. The embezzlement is a federal offense because the commissions received about $685,000 in federal funds in 2017.

Man arrested for leaving 18-month-old in vehicle while he gambled

A Brookport, Illinois man is accused of leaving an 18-month-old child inside of a vehicle while he was gambling inside a store. Christopher G. Harris, 38, was arrested Monday, May 27 at a Casey’s store in Metropolis, Ill. Officers were first called to the store in reference to a theft allegedly involving Harris. The manager of the Casey’s reportedly told officers that Harris had allegedly pumped gas into his vehicle and left without paying. Later on, a Metropolis officer returned to the Casey’s after spotting Harris’ car at the store. The police officer reports Harris was in the gaming area playing the video machines. During the investigation, police said they found an 18-month-old child alone in Harris’ vehicle. Harris was arrested and booked into the Massac County Detention Center. The toddler was reportedly turned over to Harris’ mother. During a search of Harris, police said they found methamphetamine and Alprozolam, a controlled substance. Harris was charged with theft, possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment.

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