A Brief Look at Crime 9/02 – 9/08

Children were exposed to gambling adverts on Looney Tunes smartphone app, prompting ban

Four gambling adverts have been banned after they appeared in a smartphone app used by children which features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. The Advertising Standards Authority censured firms for promotions in Looney Tunes World of Mayhem – which has an age rating of seven and up.The watchdog said the link between gambling and cartoons came at a time of mounting concern that betting is being ‘normalised’ for children. The producers of the game argued it was meant to be for adults. However, the watchdog found it had a rating of PEGI 7 in the Google Play app store, meaning it was suitable for players aged seven and over. The game allows players to build worlds based on the Looney Tunes cartoons and collect characters to battle each other. The ASA censured LottoGo EuroMillions, William Hill Vegas, Betfair Bingo and Dunder. It said: ‘Given the use of cartoon characters, cartoonish violence and the relatively simple nature of the game, we considered it was likely to appeal to many under-18s. However, we acknowledged that characters would be well-known to older players, and the game was likely to have more general appeal.’ Meanwhile, a new study has fuelled fears computer games may be providing a ‘gateway’ into problem gambling for teenagers. The study of more than 1,100 children found those who had spent money on in-game ‘loot boxes’ in the past month scored more than twice as highly on a problem gambling questionnaire.

Ex-NYPD Detective, Mastermind of Prostitution and Gambling Ring Sentenced to Up to 12 Years

Ludwig Paz, the retired NYPD detective who pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption for running brothels, was sentenced to up to 12 years in prison Tuesday. Paz “used his knowledge of inner workings” of the NYPD to operate a string of brothels in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, according to Acting District Attorney John Ryan, and ran illegal gambling rings in beauty salons and other locations throughout the city. The 51-year-old pleaded guilty in May to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption and one count of promoting prostitution. The judge sentenced Paz to four to 12 years in prison on Tuesday. The lucrative prostitution ring alone brought in more than $2 million in just over a year’s time, after using online advertising to attract more customers. After the screening process, clients paid up to $40 for 15 minutes of sex with a prostitute of their choice, or up to $160 for a full hour, according to the full indictment.

Port Coquitlam man given 14 years, no parole for shotgun murder

A Port Coquitlam man has been handed a 14-year prison sentence for the 2015 shooting death of a co-worker in a Maple Ridge church parking lot. On Dec. 18, 2015 — the da before the murder — Scott said he had become so distraught that he thought of killing himself. It was his brother’s birthday, so he took a day off work, going to a movie and lunch to celebrate. That night, Scott went to the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, where he lost $3,000, according to court documents. It was the first time he had gambled in three and a half years and the judge accepted the episode must have seriously affected him. “No doubt this filled him with self-loathing, disappointment and anger”, the judge wrote. In her sentencing decision, Justice Ker noted Scott was an upstanding member of society before he murdered Bender. She considered Scott’s emotional distress, history of addiction and obsessive behaviour towards women. Against that, the judge weighed several victim impact statements, noting how Bender’s murder shattered the lives of the people around him.

3 Shot at Outdoor Party in Mississippi Attended by 200 

A north Mississippi sheriff says three people were shot and injured at a party that as many as 200 people were attending. Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby tells local news outlets deputies were called around 3 a.m. Sunday. The party was taking place in a wooded area on a dead-end road near Sardis. Darby says one man was shot in the stomach and taken by helicopter to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. A second man was shot in the ankle and a third man was shot multiple times. They were taken to hospitals in private vehicles. All are expected to recover. Darby says investigators suspect gambling and drugs were present at the party. The sheriff says deputies are seeking more information because the people who were shot aren’t saying much.

Boston man dies after wife stabs him in Quincy 

A 46-year-old woman is being held without bail after police say she killed her husband during an argument about an illegal gambling operation the couple was running out of a basement. Huixian Liu, of 67 West Newton Street in Boston, was arraigned in Quincy District Court Friday on a charge of assault with intent to murder. Police say she stabbed her husband, 55-year-old Biqiang He, during an argument on July 4. He was taken to Quincy Medical Center, then to Boston Medical Center where he died Sunday. Liu is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing later this week. The death of He transfers the case to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, and Spokesman David Traub said prosecutors will “examine the existing assault charges in light of the victim’s death” ahead of Liu’s scheduled Friday court appearance.

Maryland Woman Sentenced for Scamming Victims of $1.2M

Federal prosecutors say a Maryland woman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for wire fraud in a scheme to defraud at least five people of more than $1.2 million. U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a news release on Monday that 74-year-old Nely Rider of Bowie also received nine months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release. The U.S. Justice Department said Rider told her victims that a person in Mexico needed help getting to the U.S. and said the person would repay the victims once she arrived. Prosecutors said that, based on Rider’s statements, the victims provided her with approximately $1,285,545 which she used at casinos and elsewhere for her personal benefit. Authorities say some elderly victims lost their retirement savings.

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