Monthly Archives: October 2019

Florida Senate President Claims they may Attempt to Reverse or Side Skirt Amendment 3 which Requires Gambling Issues to be Approved by Voters

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to properly regulate Florida gambling issues, including the most recently passed Amendment 3. That amendment requires the Florida legislature to get final approval for gambling expansion from voters and most voters in Florida aren’t in favor of gambling expansion. Recently, when discussing the failed attempts are getting a new gambling compact signed with the Seminole Tribe, comments have been made that the reversal of Amendment 3 might be on the horizon. The failed deal was over gambling exclusivity in exchange for payment to the state and the inability to reach a deal meant the Seminole Tribe held their payments back from the state. An online source explains: 

The Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis this spring were unable to seal a deal between the Seminoles and the state aimed at resolving a protracted legal battle over controversial “designated player” card games operated by many Florida pari-mutuels. A federal judge found the designated player games violated a compact between the tribe and the state in which the Seminoles agreed to pay about $350 million a year in exchange for the “exclusive” rights to operate banked card games, such as blackjack, at most of its Florida casinos. 

[P]resented with the outlines of the agreement near the end of the spring session, DeSantis, who took office in January, refused to sign off on the deal, saying he needed more time to explore the issues.

Not long after the session ended in May, the Seminoles told the governor in writing they would stop making the annual payments to the state “until the illegal banked card game issue is resolved,” referring to the designated player games.

Given they had to budget a year without the Seminole money, they are now approaching the situation as if a deal simply isn’t needed. Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is suggesting looking at many options, The online source continue:

“The underlying point is, financially, we’ve moved on from the tribe. We didn’t rely on the revenue share last budget and there’s no reason to believe we have to recreate that revenue share going forward,” Galvano said. “If we’re not getting revenue, there’s no reason to provide exclusivity (to operate banked card games). We realize it’s a new day, so we’ll take it from there.”

Instead of focusing on how much the tribe will pay for exclusivity, Galvano and Oliva are open to examining how much the state could reap if the Legislature delivers on the pari-mutuels’ wish list.

Items on the table include “codifying” the designated player games, increasing bet limits and authorizing sports betting and fantasy sports, Galvano said. He’s also willing to consider other perks for pari-mutuel operators.

One of the biggest obstacles to this line of thinking, however, is Amendment 3. It’s a voter initiative that passed with overwhelming support and it requires various gambling issues to get a final vote from the people. Galvano doesn’t seem concerned and even suggested trying to reverse the amendment:

The constitutional amendment “requires a vote by citizens initiative” for “casino gambling” to be authorized in Florida. “Casino gambling” is defined as “any of the type of games typically found in casinos” and that are defined as “Class III gaming” under federal law. Class III games include slot machines, blackjack, craps and roulette — and sports betting.

Galvano said lawmakers have the ability to put their own gambling-related constitutional proposals on the ballot, such as “repealing that amendment and restoring the (Legislature’s) ability to expand gaming.”

Galvano also contends that, while the Legislature could authorize sports betting through passing a statute, lawmakers “could push that constitutionally” as an extra precaution.

The Senate president maintains the legalization of sports betting would not trigger the citizens’ initiative requirement, a position disputed by John Sowinski, the campaign manager of the political committee behind last year’s constitutional amendment. “The Legislature neither has the authority to enact or propose an expansion of casino gambling in the state. Period,” Sowinski told the News Service.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 10/21 – 10/27

Suspects in Casino Killing Could Be Eligible For Death Penalty 

The two female defendants charged in the robbery and killing of an 84-year-old Long Beach woman at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted, officials said Sunday. One of the suspects, 35-year-old Kimesha Monae Williams, is believed to be the sister of Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard. Williams’ aunt told the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Saturday that Williams and Leonard are siblings. John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, would not confirm the relationship, but told City News Service that Williams and 39-year-old Candace Tai Townsel were charged with murder with a special circumstance that makes them eligible for the death penalty. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Williams and Townsel followed Afaf Anis Assad of Long Beach into a bathroom at the casino on Aug. 31, where the duo attacked her and stole her purse, which contained $800 to $1,200. Assad was found unconscious on the bathroom floor and later died of her injuries at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.

Woman gets 33 months for bank fraud

A former Huntington accountant has been sentenced to serve less than three years in federal prison after being accused of embezzling over $1 million from a client’s account. Kimberly Dawn Price, also known as Kimberly Swan, 59, was sentenced to serve 33 months for bank fraud committed during her time as a staff accountant at the Huntington-based firm Hess, Stewart and Campbell PLLC. “It’s simple. Price was a thief who stole from an employer that implicitly trusted her,” U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said Monday following sentencing. “And now she’s being held accountable.” A letter written to the court seeking leniency in her sentencing, filed by Price’s attorney Wesley Page, said the money was taken due to her gambling addiction. After losing her job, she worked at a gas station for about a year, but has since not worked and now receives Social Security spousal benefits after the death of her husband. Page said she gambled away “or otherwise lost” her savings and lives in subsidized housing in Huntington.

Berkhamsted Light Corporation manager jailed for £2m fraud 

A financial manager has been jailed for stealing £2.1m from the firm she worked for to fund a gambling addiction, a court has heard. Joyce Baker admitted fraud by abuse of position at Light Corporation, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, after using the cash to gamble online. She also pleaded guilty to contempt of court for not saying where the assets were. She was jailed for 5 years and 10 months. St Albans Crown Court heard Baker, 61, of Briery Way, Hemel Hempstead, stole money within six weeks of starting work at the company in 2012, and continued until she left in June 2018. Judge Stephen Warner said the “planned dishonesty” was committed “over many years in breach of a high degree of trust”. He added it was to “feed the scourge of a gambling addiction” and could not justify it. Prosecutor Walton Hornsby said she siphoned money into her accounts by authorising payments to an unknown supplier. The court also heard Baker cashed in a £26,000 pension plan by putting it into a concealed bank account.Only 50p was left after she transferred some to a sister and spent the rest on gambling, a holiday and household expenses.

Former Cape Coral real estate broker sentenced for fraud scheme

A Cape Coral real estate broker found guilty in June as part of a scheme to defraud an investor of more than a half million dollars has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison. In 2015, he made false statements to the victim and convinced her to invest $300,000 in a real estate venture. Specifically, Eyerman indicated they would “flip” houses; that is, buy, rehab and re-sell properties. Instead of using the money for that purpose, Eyerman gambled away a large portion of the money at casinos and, over a matter of seven weeks, spent the remainder on personal luxury goods, including a custom Porsche 911, a $12,700 Rolex watch and a $50,000 down payment on his personal luxury waterfront residence in Cape Coral. Without telling the victim that he had already spent all of her initial investment, Eyerman went back to her in August 2015, seeking more money. This time, Eyerman lied about a second business opportunity – a purported new home construction company. Eyerman convinced the victim to provide him with another $261,000, which he immediately spent for personal use, including gambling most of it away at the Seminole Indian

Kentucky Law Enforcement Officers Exposed for Running Cruel, Illegal Cockfighting Operation

Investigators uncovered shocking evidence of an illegal cockfighting ring involving two Kentucky law enforcement officers. In pictures posted on Facebook, Ronnie Bennet and Kyle Simpson pose with roosters in arm and trophies from their “wins.” The roosters’ legs are wrapped with tape, likely where small knives are attached to inflict severe injuries on the opposing bird. In this abusive blood sport, two roosters are forced to fight to the death for human entertainment and profit. Roosters raised for cockfighting are bred, brutally trained, and sometimes medicated to be unnaturally aggressive. Before a fight, the breeder may mutilate the rooster by cutting off the bird’s wattle, comb, and ear lobes. The fight usually ends tragically, with at least one rooster dying from his injuries Cockfight breeders profit off of their animal’s “win”  and the other animal’s death — through associated gambling. SHARK and IDA sent the evidence implicating the two employees of Harlan County Detention Center and at least three other people to the FBI.

CBS Credit Union Manager Gets 14 Years for $40M Embezzlement 

Edward Rostohar admitted that he used the money to fund a gambling habit, buy luxury cars and watches and travel by private jet. The former manager of a credit union that served employees of the CBS television network has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for a two-decade embezzlement scheme that drained $40 million from the institution and forced it into insolvency. Edward Rostohar pleaded guilty to bank fraud in May. The 62-year-old admitted he used the money to fund a gambling habit, buy luxury cars and watches and travel by private jet. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said Monday that Rostohar paid his wife a $5,000 weekly allowance and took trips with “women half his age.” The charges were announced in March, on the same day that the CBS Employees Federal Credit Union ceased operations. Its assets were assumed by University Credit Union in Los Angeles.

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

Missouri’s Illegal Slot Machine Problem gets Another Round of Missouri Legislator’s Attention Amid Record Complaints as some Fear it will become a Supreme Court Issue

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing issue plaguing Missouri residents, illegal gambling machines. These slot machines have been popping up all over Missouri and they are illegal. Enforcement has been an issue as the Missouri Gaming Commission can only regulate and enforce legal gambling. Local prosecutors have been responsible for enforcement and the issue has quickly gotten out of control.   Complaints for these machines have more than quadrupled in just the last year and its causing a strain to law enforcement. Missourinet explains:

The Missouri State Highway Patrol testified Thursday in Jefferson City that the number of complaints it’s received about illegal gambling has increased from 39 in 2018 to 145 so far this year. Most of those complaints are about alleged illegal slot machines. Highway Patrol Lieutenant Roger Phillips tells state lawmakers the Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control (DDCC) only has two full-time investigators to handle these complaints. “In recent months, we’ve had such a volume of complaints that we’ve had to pull investigators from other assigned duties to come and help investigate these complaints,” Phillips testifies.

The Missouri House Committee has taken to a more formal round of discussion at the State’s Capitol, inviting testimony from the community, law enforcement and the manufactures of the machines. Interestingly enough, none of the machines manufactures actually showed up as they initially indicated. The St Louis Post Dispatch reports: 

After saying he would welcome the chance to talk to lawmakers, one of the men responsible for the spread of illegal gambling machines across Missouri was a no-show Thursday at a special House committee hearing. In September, a spokesman for Steven Miltenberger, owner of Wildwood-based Torch Electronics, said “we’d look forward to the opportunity” to make the case to lawmakers that

“I have not seen, nor am I aware, of any machines that would be legal,” said Steve Sokoloff, general counsel for the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, which represents county-level prosecutors.

He said the distributors and manufacturers of the machines find loopholes in state anti-gambling laws to help them avoid prosecution. But, no matter which feature is added by the companies, the general sense is that if people put money in a terminal with the belief that they might win money, that is gambling, which is illegal if it is not regulated by the state, Sokoloff said.

Given the shear volume of these machines and the massive amount of money that will be lost should they be properly regulated and formally declared illegal through legislation, some believe the issue will find itself in the Supreme Court. Missourinet explains:

House Special Interim Committee on Gaming Chairman Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, tells Missourinet he believes this issue will end up at the Missouri Supreme Court, because of powerful interests on both sides. “There’s going to be people that make a lot of money one way or the other, and it’s a lot of protection and the cost of going to the (Missouri) Supreme Court would be certainly less than what they would perceive would be won or lost through this process,” Shaul says. He also believes the issue will be litigated in court for three or four years.

Chairman Shaul compares the growing problem of alleged illegal slots to a different issue the Missouri Department of Conservation has dealt with. “Feral hogs weren’t a problem (in Missouri) ten years ago, we just had a little problem. Well, is this going to become the next feral hog issue in the state,” says Shaul.

The Missouri Gaming Commission has testified that any illegal gaming machines used in Missouri negatively impact casinos and the state Lottery, reducing taxes and funding for education and veterans.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/14 – 10/20

Gambling addict convicted of murder after bludgeoning his close friend in cash row

A gambling addict has been convicted of murder after bludgeoning his close friend to death in their Batley home following a dispute over money. A jury of seven men and five women took two-and-a-half hours to unanimously find Abdul Kapade guilty of murder after a week-long trial at Leeds Crown Court The 49-year-old attacked Firoz Pagarkar, who he described as being ‘like a brother’ to him for 11 years, with a hammer while he was in bed in the early hours of January 3 this year. Mr Pagarkar, 46, died in hospital seven weeks later. Kapade told jurors that his friend owed him £20,000 and he was suffering from a psychiatric disorder after being told that he would not be getting the money. He sold his home in Highfield Court, Soothill, Batley, to his friend in December 2017 after he got into financial difficulties.

Montana woman gets prison time for embezzling from clients

A Montana woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling from clients of her money management business has been sentenced to nine months in prison and was ordered to pay $186,000 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced 78-year-old Ellen Van Ausdol of Bozeman Friday for taking over $250,000 from clients of Fiduciary Consulting and Management over a six-year period. She admitted using most of the money to pay gambling debts. People with developmental disabilities or who were otherwise unable to manage their own finances were court-appointed to have their money managed by Van Ausdol. She was a former Gallatin County District Court clerk. Court records say she repaid nearly $120,000 to clients in 2016, leaving about $133,000 in restitution remaining. She also owes the IRS nearly $53,000 for not paying income taxes on the stolen money.

Hollywood Casino Toledo Slots Allegedly Used for Attempted Laundering of $138,000

A man accused of trying to launder $138,843 of alleged “drug profits” through “fast feeding” at Hollywood Casino Toledo pleaded not guilty this week to all charges, according to Ohio federal court officials.The money laundering allegedly took place by a technique called “fast-feeding,” federal officials said. This is where someone takes large amounts of currency — earned from illegal activity — to a casino, puts some of it into slot machines, plays the machine briefly, and then gets a ticket for the unused currency. The remaining credit is swapped for a check from the casino, according to Kerry Myers, a former attorney and an accountant with the FBI who now teaches forensic accounting at the University of South Florida.Like banks, casinos are also required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the US Treasury regarding any suspicious activity by any customer regardless of amount, he said. The failure to file the reports can subject the casinos to fines and increased regulatory oversight, he added. Casinos have paid hefty fines for non-compliance. “If money comes from a casino, it appears legitimate to the bank, since its actual source has been hidden,” McAvoy explained. “Gambling is thus used to give the funds the look of legitimacy so that they can then be allowed into the banking system without much questioning. If a bank thinks a transaction is suspicious, the funds will not be accepted and a Suspicious Activity Report on the transaction will be filed by the bank with regulators and law enforcement.” Casinos are also required to have anti-money laundering programs in place, just like banks.

Gunman killed by police tried robbing 2 casinos 

Police say a man shot and killed by officers after two botched casino robberies in the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin (LAW’-flin) had a gun in his hand when he got out of a vehicle after a nearly seven-hour standoff. Las Vegas police Capt. Nichole Splinter told reporters Monday that cashiers at both the Golden Nugget Laughlin Hotel and the Aquarius Casino Resort refused to hand over cash even though the man displayed a handgun both times. She says the man fired a shot as he fled an Aquarius security guard, but missed, before being surrounded by police in a parked vehicle in the parking lot at about 1:30 a.m. Splinter says the man was getting out of the vehicle when he was shot and killed by officers after 7 a.m.

Indiana Man Charged for Allegedly Running Bookmaking Scheme Involving $17M in Bets 

An Indiana illegal sports wagering operation where gamblers placed more than $17 million in bets since 2016 has led to the arrest of one suspect — just as the Hoosier state begins to offer legal athletic betting. The scheme, allegedly co-run by Bret A. Wells, 46, of New Palestine, earned more than $1.8 million in profits, according to the /Greenfield Daily Reporter/. The illicit operation involved more than 176,000 wagers since 2016, authorities revealed. Wells faces six charges. They include: a Level 5 count of corrupt business influence, a Level 6 count of professional gambling and knowingly engaging in bookmaking, and two Level 6 charges of promoting professional gambling, newspaper said. He was also charged with two counts of Level 6 theft where the value of property is between $750 and $50,000, the newspaper report said. That stemmed from stolen items allegedly found at Wells’s business.

Sam’s Club employee charged with embezzlement

An Albuquerque woman is accused of stealing half a million dollars from Sam’s Club and Walmart. According to a criminal complaint, detectives were first contacted by an investigator for Walmart back in May. It was learned that $510,000 had gone missing from Sam’s Club and a Walmart in Albuquerque over the past few years. Detectives say between 2013 and 2019, fraudulent checks linked to cash office employee, Michele Bernard, were swapped out for cash approximately 30 times. When questioned, detectives say Bernard admitted to the crime, saying she had gotten into gambling and had been doing it for years.

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


Jacksonville Florida Mayor to Enforce Internet Café Ban via Local Legislation, but a Lawsuit Seeks an Injunction

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing issue of internet cafés. Gov. Rick Scott banned this form of illegal gambling as these gambling machines essentially created unregulated mini-casinos. Formal legislation was needed as manufactures and venues routinely tried to claim they weren’t slot machines. However, many jurisdictions have been slow to enforce the new ban as some believed the general definition of internet café and the types of games it sought to restrict might ether be too vague or entirely too broad. Now, one area that has been allowing internet cafes has passed its own local legislation and informed these cafes that they must remove the machines or close entirely. First Coast News explains:

Mayor Lenny Curry signed legislation into law Friday that requires all Jacksonville internet cafes to remove all “simulated gambling” devices or close their doors for good. This legislation goes into effect Friday, and the city will begin enforcing the law on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

On Tuesday, the city council approved the ordinance that calls for Internet cafes to immediately remove simulated gambling devices or close their doors, as soon as the mayor signs the bill into law. The bill was introduced by councilwoman LeAnna Cumber during that Tuesday meeting, previously city council had voted to close all arcades with simulated gambling devices next year. 

As is often the case with gambling issues, and lawsuit has been filed to stop the legislation. Lawyers for the internet cafes filed the injunction almost immediately upon signing. Jacksonville online reports:

A lawsuit filed Friday seeks an injunction to stop the city from enforcing rules the City Council approved in May and this week. A lawyer for several internet café owners asked a federal judge Friday to block Jacksonville officials from enforcing new ordinances banning casino-style electronic games the city calls “simulated gambling devices.”

U.S. District Judge Brian Davis didn’t immediately react to the injunction request Mathis made on behalf of ’s injunction request, which he made on behalf of Triad Venture Capitalists LLC, The Grand Arcade LLC and Chapman Enterprises of Atlantic Beach Inc., all companies that run internet cafes affected by the new rules. 

Between 140 and 160 internet cafes are thought to be operating citywide, and city officials have said inspections to enforce the new rules could begin this month.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/07 – 10/13

Wichita attorney who spent client’s money pleads guilty

A Wichita attorney who spent nearly $1 million of a 103-year-old client’s trust money has pleaded guilty to two counts of felony theft. The Wichita Eagle reports 71-year-old Larry Toomey spent nearly $962,000 from the woman’s bank accounts for personal expenses. Court records show about $496,000 of that went to cover his gambling addiction. Prosecutors allege Toomey stole from the women for seven years. His client was in poor mental and physical health and was living in a Wichita nursing home.

Florida Casino Robbed of More than $5 Million

Casino thefts are not entirely uncommon. Over the past few decades, there have been numerous attempts to steal money from different gambling venues across the country. This week, eight men have been charged for their involvement in a Florida casino robbed of more than $5 million. This is one of the larger heists in recent memory. Today, we’re going to look at the details of this case. We’ll also discuss some of the biggest casino robberies in recent US history. Eight men have been officially charged with stealing more than $5 million for this casino, operated by the Miccosukee Native America tribe. The men are alleged to have tampered with the gambling machines to generate credit vouchers eventually converted to cash. This Florida casino robbed of millions is one of many dealing with robbery issues.

Ex-Lake Delton Fire and EMS secretary gets 15 months prison for embezzling $350K

A former secretary of the Lake Delton Fire Department and the Dells-Delton Emergency Medical Services commissions who nearly ”bankrupted” the agencies by embezzling $358,000 was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 15 months in prison. Stephanie Czuprynko, 54, of Wisconsin Dells, wrote herself more than 100 checks between February 2016 and November 2018, used signature stamps she made to authenticate them and doctored entries in accounting software to cover her theft, said District Judge William Conley. “The loss Czuprynko created wasn’t discovered until November, otherwise she would have bankrupted us,” said Wisconsin Dells Police Chief Daniel Hardman. The commissions did not have reserves to cover the embezzlement and the village of Lake Delton agreed to co-sign a loan from the Bank of Wisconsin Dells to keep the commissions operating, Hardman said.Czuprynko attributed her embezzlement to a gambling addiction. “It ruined my life,” she told Conley. Czyuprynko’s addiction dates to the opening of the Ho-Chunk casino in Baraboo in 1992. She initially attended with her husband. Twenty years later, her husband demanded she seek counseling after she took $10,000 from savings and lost it. She didn’t get treatment, continued gambling and hid it from her husband.

Ida woman accused of embezzling $300,000 from King Electrical in Sylvania

A former Toledo resident was indicted in federal court for allegedly embezzling more than $300,000 from her employer and using it to gamble and pay for electronics, airline tickets and other personal expenses. Traci Ann Grillo, 47, of Ida,, was indicted on nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, Grillo worked for King Electrical Service in Sylvania from September 2014 through March 2019. As part of her job, King Electrical entrusted financial accounts to Grillo, including bank accounts, credit card accounts, and check-writing authority. Grillo is accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from King Electrical, the indictment says. She allegedly did this through several fraudulent means, including: salary overpayments to herself; personal use of the King Electrical checking account, such as writing checks to pay her son’s tuition at Kent State University; personal use of King Electrical credit cards, including for clothing, home furnishings, electronics, airline tickets and to pay her online gambling account, and obtaining high-interest rate loans under fraudulent pretenses, according to the indictment.

Former tribal leaders plead guilty in $6 million casino embezzlement case 

The allegations in the indictment  were breathtaking: three former officials of the tribe that runs the Rolling Hills Casino had embezzled $6 million and used the money to buy lavish homes, cars and gold coins and for travel overseas. The allegations laid out in 2017 in a 69-count indictment and an earlier federal civil suit claimed the three had gone on a “12-year looting spree” and used the money to buy tickets to World Series, Final Four and NBA games and charter private jets and then lied to federal agents investigating the conspiracy. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to embezzle from a tribal organization. John Crosby, 56, also pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return; Ines Crosby, 76, pleaded guilty to not filing a tax return in 2010; and Lohse, 64, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return

The casino, which boasts a golf course, hotels, RV park, equestrian center and concert amphitheater, has been estimated to generate $100 million a year for the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. In 2014, estimates indicated the casino generated $54,000 annually for each of the 300 adult members of the tribe. But the flood of gamblers’ cash created a split among tribal members, leading to a 2014 audit found $17 million had been spent on private jet travel, up to $93 million had been spent investments considered “high-risk, start-up companies,” and $61 million was spent on excessive overhead and compensation.

Alena Pastuch sentenced to seven-year prison term for $5.5-million fraud

Twelve years after she first started amassing millions from investors, five years after her arrest, disgraced Regina businesswoman Alena Marie Pastuch has been sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for fraud. Pastuch was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Any amount paid will be deducted from a $5.5-million fine, reflecting the amount of money defrauded. Elson gave her 12 years to pay after she serves, and if she fails to pay up, is subject to a further five-year prison sentence. One victim, who was in the court, doubts he’ll ever seen any money back. “I feel sorry for the people that will never recover,” he said. Brule noted, as fast as the money flowed in, it drained out to pay for Pastuch living the high life — gambling, staying in expensive hotels in Vegas, Although she’s subject to restitution orders — now both by the courts and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority, which first uncovered the fraud, some victims in their statements expressed hope for repayment, but also conceded it was unlikely. Of the $5.5 million invested, to date only $137,097 has ever been recovered by the victims.

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

UPDATE: DOJ Wire Act/Online Gambling Case Advances as Court Calls for Briefs

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to restore the original interpretation of the Wire Act. The Wire Act is the law responsible for the regulation of online gambling. Prior to a shocking reversal by the Obama Administration, the Wire Act made online gambling illegal. Their new interpretation claimed the law only applied to sports betting, meaning all other online gambling suddenly became legal. The Department of Justice under the Trump Administration is working toward restoring the original interpretation, thus making online gambling illegal. Their decision was challenged in court and overturned, but quickly appealed. That court has now called for briefs by each side. An online source explains:

The lawsuit over the *Wire Act and its applicability to online gambling is far from over. In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just set the briefing schedule for William P. Barr, United States Attorney General and the United States Department of Justice. The First Circuit is requiring Barr and the DOJ to file their briefs and other necessary paperwork by Nov. 12.

With that in mind — and according to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 31(a) — the New Hampshire Lottery Commission along with the other state lotteries and vendors that joined the suit have 30 days thereafter to respond after the DOJ files its brief. The DOJ’s reply brief is then due within 21 days after the plaintiffs respond.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 9/23 – 10/06

Oklahoma woman pleads guilty to grandson’s murder after leaving him in casino parking lot 

An Oklahoma City woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by child neglect in Indian Country after she allegedly left her 5-year-old grandson in a hot car for hours last summer while she was at a casino. According to an affidavit, officials say 50-year-old Alanna Jean Orr was caring for her grandson on June 21, 2018, when she went to the Kickapoo Casino in Harrah. Officials say surveillance video showed Orr arriving at the casino at 1:23 p.m. and leaving at 7:28 p.m. Court records say her grandson was in the car during this time, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees that day. Officials say about 15 minutes after she left the casino, Orr called 911 to report that her grandson had choked and was not breathing. Emergency officials arrived and tried to resuscitate the five-year-old, “but found that rigor mortis had already begun.” Officials say Orr was arrested in April following her indictment by a federal grand jury for second-degree felony murder by child neglect in Indian Country. Investigators say the crime was subject to federal jurisdiction because Orr and the child are both Native American and the offense took place on tribal trust land. On Tuesday, Orr pleaded guilty to the indictment. During her hearing, Orr admitted that she caused her grandson’s death.

Former employee pleads guilty to stealing $200,000 from Whatcom casino (WA) 

A former Silver Reef Casino employee has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $200,000 from the business in November 2018. Shannon Marie Morris pleaded guilty June 12 to one count of theft by an employee of a gaming establishment on Indian lands in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, according to federal court records. In a statement supporting her guilty plea, Morris said that on Nov. 24, 2018, she entered the Silver Reef Casino, walked into the cash collection area, stole $200,000 from the casino and left with the money, according to court records. Morris was an employee at the casino at the time, records show. Morris is no longer employed at the casino, according to marketing director Eric Larsen. In a story previously reported in The Bellingham Herald, Morris allegedly called 911 to report that she had been forced by a man with a gun to commit the theft. She also allegedly told law enforcement that the man had mentioned wanting to plant a bomb in the casino.

Ladbrokes Coral hit by £5.9m penalty over vulnerable gamblers

Ladbrokes Coral will pay a £5.9m penalty, one of the largest imposed by the Gambling Commission, over “systemic failings” to protect problem gamblers who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds. The regulator detailed a litany of transgressions by Ladbrokes Coral between 2014 and 2017, finding that it failed to fulfil its obligations to “protect customers from gambling harm” and prevent money laundering. When the company became aware of the problem, it simply reduced the number of its customers it deemed “high risk”, rather than investing to protect them the commission’s investigation found. “These were systemic failings at a large operator, which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable,” the commission’s executive director, Richard Watson, said. The failures include neglecting to ask one customer who lost £1.5m over three years about their source of funds, despite clear signs of problem gambling such as logging into their account 10 times a day and losing £64,000 in a month.

Suspect Arrested in Homicide at Downtown Reno Hotel-Casino

Reno police have arrested a 22-year-old suspect in the killing of a California woman whose body was found earlier this month at a downtown hotel-casino. Tevin Johnson was booked on suspicion of open murder on Monday in the July 19 death of 37-year-old Amber Morris of Moreno Valley, California at the Circus Circus hotel-casino. Police say Johnson had been arrested the day after Morris’ body was found on an unrelated charge and detectives subsequently developed probable cause to arrest him for the slaying. He previously was being held at the Washoe County Jail on $150,000 cash-only-bond on a charge of illegally obtaining or using another person’s identification, but he’s now being held without bail. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer or will be appointed one at an upcoming court appearance.

Las Vegas Strip Casinos Allege Man Stole $625K Through Marker Credits

Three Las Vegas Strip casinos say a 46-year-old man stole from their gaming properties by arranging credit advances through markers. The /Las Vegas Review-Journal/ obtained an arrest warrant and criminal complaint from Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s office that shows Sang Lee allegedly secured eight casino markers totaling $625,000 between 2016 and 2017. The casinos say the money was never returned. Lee was arrested this week but released on his own recognizance, according to the records. A casino marker is essentially an IOU (I owe you), a financial negotiating instrument. The patron writes a check to the cashier in exchange for gaming funds, and the casino promises not to cash the check for a certain period of time – typically 30 days Lee is accused of writing three checks totaling $300,000 to The Venetian, and two others totaling $25,000 at The Palazzo – both properties owned by Las Vegas Sands. The complaint also claims he wrote three checks to Wynn Las Vegas totaling $300,000. After Lee failed to pay back the markers in the agreed upon time, the casinos cashed the checks, but were notified by his bank that sufficient funds were not available.

Loudoun County jury gives Moreno 38 years for sister’s murder

A Loudoun County jury has found Michel Moreno, 59, guilty of first degree murder and hit-and-run resulting in injury or death after a nine-day trial, according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.Moreno was driving his sister Nancy Moreno to Washington Dulles International Airport to drop her off for a business trip. Just north of the airport, Michel Moreno pulled over on Route 28 and Nancy Moreno exited the SUV. Michel Moreno then ran over his sister with the vehicle and drove away from the scene. He did not stop to help her or call law enforcement, according to authorities. Nancy Moreno was transported to Reston Hospital, where she died from her injuries a few hours later. Faw told the Times-Mirror that the crime occurred after Nancy Moreno, with whom Michel Moreno had been living in Sterling since their mother’s death, began to ask her brother to take more fiscal responsibility in their living situation. She had asked him to start paying rent, had gotten him a job and was trying to stop him from gambling. “He became more and more frustrated with her efforts to alter his behavior,” Faw said, adding that while Moreno was clearly psychologically troubled as a result of past brain injuries, it remains unclear whether his mental instability played a major role in the crime.

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