Daily Archives: November 11, 2019

A Brief Look at Crime 11/04 – 11/10

Feds crack down on illegal gambling rooms 

Law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security and HPD raided two homes, leading to charges against 15 suspects. Federal law enforcement officials say these arrests aren’t just about gambling. They’re tied to other crimes that affect others who live beyond the communities where the gambling houses are located. The federal agencies teamed up with HPD to confiscate illegal gambling machines Monday on Pupupuhi Street in Waipahu and Hoolehua Street in Pearl City. Both described as residential areas where illegal gambling has been going on since October last year. They’ve spread their tentacles into residential areas jeopardizing the safety and security of communities like Pearl City and Waipahu,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price. Officials say in many cases, money from these types of gambling operations IS used to finance organized crime. “Do not be fooled, the money that is collected at these gambling dens turns into narcotics for these organizations, it turns into guns for these organizations. It helps them promote other types of activities that hurt our community,” said John Tobon, Special Agent in Charge with Homeland Security Investigations. “The crime that we’re seeing, the guns, the stabbing, it always for the most part, 95% of the time is traced back to either illegal gambling or drug activity,” said HPD Chief Susan Ballard.

Garden Grove Church Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

A 64-year-old church treasurer pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $225,000 from a Garden Grove church and was immediately sentenced to five years of formal probation and time already served in custody, or 102 days, according to court records obtained Monday. Mauga pleaded guilty on Thursday to seven counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime between $100,000 to $500,000. As part of the plea deal, 13 other felony counts of grand theft were dismissed along with sentencing enhancements for property damage exceeding $200,000. Mauga was ordered to pay $227,152.14 in restitution — the amount of money taken from the First Christian Church of Garden Grove from 2013 through 2017, according to court records. Mauga began working as the church’s treasurer in 1978. She had access to church debit cards and would withdraw cash each week over several years, according to Garden Grove Detective Claudia Alarcon. Mauga told investigators she did so for “personal expenses and gambling,” Alarcon said.

Georgia Man Convicted of Counterfeit Gold Scam Appeals to 11th Circuit

A Georgia man sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for scamming internet customers out of nearly $800,000 in a scheme involving counterfeit gold and silver coins asked an 11th Circuit panel Tuesday to reconsider his sentence. Stacy Paul Waddell was sentenced to serve 183 months in prison for wire fraud, selling counterfeit coins and tampering with official proceedings. He was convicted in August 2016 of duping customers who wanted to purchase gold and silver bullion coins and using their money to gamble in casinos, and he was ordered to make restitution payments to more than 30 victims amounting to $841,000. Waddell promised customers that the gold and silver could be delivered quickly to get them to immediately wire transfer money into bank accounts he controlled. He used the money to gamble in Hard Rock Casinos in Florida and purchase expensive clothes. He never delivered the promised shipments to his victims.

Conman, 66, is jailed for nine years after he stole £1.4million from his own companies and spent it on gambling

A conman who stole £1.4million from his own companies and spent it on gambling debts, holidays and cars, has finally been locked up after 15 years on the run. Christopher Woodhead, 66, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was caught on the Costa Del Sol in Spain. Between 1997 and 1999 the conman ran chemical paint companies targeting elderly and vulnerable people, and milked them for cash. Using fictitious invoices, loans and direct cash transfers to move money between his companies, he illicitly withdrew nearly £450,000. The swindler splurged the money on a variety of personal expenses, such as his ex-wife’s maintenance payments, and also used his ill-gotten gains to buy a Range Rover and spent money on property, holidays and gambling debts.

Jail Time For 3 Morris Co. Men In Mob Gambling Scheme

hree men from Morris County were sentenced to jail time on Friday for their roles in a Genovese crime family-linked gambling ring, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. The three men, Vito Alberti, 60, of Morristown, Domenick Pucillo, 61, of Florham Park, and anuel Rodriguez, 54, of Chatham, pleaded guilty to the charges against them in May. They were part of a group of six sentenced for their role in the ring on Friday. The six men were accused of helping run a loan shark operation that netted $4.7 million in interest, a multi-million dollar offshore gambling ring, and unlicensed check cashing business that made $9 million and enabled money laundering, and tax fraud and evasion, Grewal said. All of the illegal operations went to fund “tribute” payments that went to those higher-up in the Genovese family chain of command. “When those involved in traditional organized crime engage in schemes such as loansharking and illegal gambling, they profit at the expense of victims who are struggling with debt, gambling problems, and other issues,” Grewal said. “By prosecuting the men who ran these schemes and putting key defendants behind bars, we send a message that we will not tolerate these corrosive criminal activities that harm individuals, families and society as a whole.”

Woman who stole $200,000 from Silver Reef Casino and made bomb threat sentenced

A Bellingham woman was sentenced to time served and two years supervised release Friday, Sept. 20, in U.S. District Court in Seattle after using her employee access to steal $200,000 from the Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino. Shannon Marie Morris, a Lummi Nation member, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by an employee of a gaming establishment on Native American lands in July after she stole the money from the vault on Nov. 24. According to a Department of Justice press release, Morris was sentenced to 10 months in prison, which she has already served, and the supervised release. Because of the bomb threat, Lummi, Bellingham and Ferndale police, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI were forced to evacuate the hotel and casino, though a bomb was never found. While being questioned by law enforcement, Morris’ statement changed several times, the release said, after she originally stated that the strange man with a gun held her and her child hostage to force her to steal money from the casino. She later admitted being alone with her child in the car and to stealing the money, before leading law enforcement to where she had hidden the money in Ferndale near a tree on the side of the road.

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