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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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