A Brief Look at Crime 12/09 – 12/15

Former Local McDonald’s General Manager Allegedly Steals $241,000 To Support Gambling Addiction

A former general manager of a local McDonald’s is accused of stealing $241,000 from the fast-food restaurant and gambling the stolen funds. According to a criminal complaint, detectives say Charles “Chuck” Hobi was the only person at a Wilkinsburg McDonald’s who had access to the restaurant’s safe. As general manager, Hobi was also responsible for making all deposits. The criminal complaint says between October of 2018 and January of 2019, Hobi stole $241,000 in funds. The owner told police he discovered that money was missing when he was reviewing bank records from his McDonald’s business account. When confronted by the owner, detectives say Hobi didn’t deny the allegations. Instead, police claim Hobi said he “gambled it away.” After this alleged confession, Hobi was fired.

Macau Casino Fined $1.25M Money Laundering, Loan Shark Activities

A card room operator in Tukwila, Washington, Macau Casino, received a $1.25m penalty for money laundering and loan shark activities from the Gambling Commission. The penalties were issued after an investigation was conducted with the Washington State Gambling Commission finding one of Macau Casinos employees participating in money laundering activities by bringing big bags of $20 bills to the casino and distributing them to ‘players’ while the ‘players’ would gamble and cashout with $100 bills. The employee was arrested and charged with money laundering, unlawful debt and extortionate of money. The Gambling Commission banned the two owners of the casino from participating in gambling activities in the future and revoked gaming licenses from seven different employees and four license revocations are pending. The investigation started back in 2016 after allegations of loan shark activities were taking place with employees loaning cash and chips at an “exorbitant interest rates”. The Gambling Commission said the penalties issued sends a strong message to let all those involved in the investigation and the industry that the necessary steps will be taken to keep criminal activities out of gambling facilities.

Ontario Priest Who Gambled Away $1 Million Meant for Refugees Imprisoned 

Catholic priest has been jailed for two years for defrauding refugees of almost C$1 million ($760,000) to support a self-destructive gambling habit, Canada’s /Global News/ reports. Father Amer Saka, 61, formerly the priest of St. Joseph’s Chaldean in London, Ontario, was also ordered to pay restitution to 33 families from which he obtained the money under the guise of a sponsorship program to bring refugees to Canada. The court heard that because of Saka’s age and uncertain future employment prospects, the full amount is unlikely to ever be returned. The judge originally proposed giving Saka 45 years to repay the money, which meant he would have been 106 years old on his final installment. But prosecutors argued this was unreasonable and pressured for 15 years Instead. This will require Saka to come up with $62,433 a year for the next 15 years or face the prospect of another prison term.

Jennifer Dwyer pleads guilty to embezzling over $2 million from Lyndonville firm

Vermont Business Magazine* The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Jennifer Dwyer, 49, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, pled guilty today in federal court to one count of wire fraud involving the embezzlement of approximately $2.2 million over a ten-year period from her Lyndonville employer, Northeast Agriculture Sales, Inc (NEAG). U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss accepted Dwyer’s guilty plea and ordered her released pending sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for February 11, 2020. By pleading guilty, Dwyer admitted that between 2007 and 2017, she embezzled approximately $2,221,079.47 from NEAG through unauthorized electronic transfers of funds from NEAG’s payroll account to her personal checking account. Dwyer used the misappropriated funds on on-line gambling and to pay personal debts and expenses.

Missouri fentanyl dealer left client dying of overdose in casino before ODing in another

A Missouri fentanyl dealer was found overdosing in the bathroom of a casino right after leaving a client, who was fatally overdosing in another casino, prosecutors said Monday. The allegations were read in a court hearing Monday for Gerald E. Cardwell, 48, who was arrested last week on charges of distributing drugs with death resulting, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. According to charging documents, surveillance video shows Cardwell driving his client’s car and leading him to a hotel room at the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights. Police said Cardwell told a maid not to disturb his friend before he checked out and went to the Ameristar Casino, about five miles away. Since Cardwell had checked out, the maid tried to wake the man, but couldn’t and called security. Maryland Heights Police Det. Kendra House wrote in an affidavit that the man had been dead for hours of fentanyl and alcohol intoxication. Cardwell later overdosed in the bathroom of the Ameristar Casino, where he was found with capsules of the drug at this feet, House said.

PGCB Levies $120,000 in Fines for Gambling Failures

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has recently issued a whopping $120,000 in fines as part of its regulatory efforts. These fines were issued against two of the Keystone State’s licensed gambling operators who had let their guard down and allowed for some regulatory failures to occur at their facilities. Before issuing the fines, the gaming control board’s Office of Enforcement Counsel met with the two casino operators in what they referred to as a meeting of consent agreements. It was during this meeting that Board approvals were issued and the fines against Downs Racing, L.P., and Washington Trotting Association, LLC, the two casinos, were levied. This Pennsylvanian gaming operator is going to pay that largest share of the total fines recently issued by the gaming control board. It will be parting with *a whopping $110,000*. The casino was found to have violated state gaming laws on four separate occasions by allowing individuals who were under the legal gambling age of 21 to place bets on its floors. The remaining *$10,000 fine* was levied against the operator of the Washington-based Meadows Racetrack and Casino. As reported by the gaming regulator, the Washington Trotting Association violated the state’s gaming laws by issuing expired gambling licenses. 

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


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