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.

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